By Netzaberg Middle School JLS students. Nathan Van Schaik, USAG Bavaria Public Affairs, contributed to this report.
NETZABERG, Germany — A group of student leaders at the middle school here have a shared vision: Make their school, community and world a better place.
And they’re looking for others to help.
The Junior Leadership Society, or JLS, is a group of ambitious Netzaberg Middle School students who convene weekly to organize outreach and fundraiser events — mostly in preparation for the annual Junior Leadership Seminar in Oberwesel, Germany, hosted by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).
The students organize two annual community outreach and fundraiser events for students and families, said Johnnie Cornett, NMS seventh-grade science teacher and JLS sponsor.
“Our events in the past have been 5K family fun runs,” Cornett said. “We have focused on raising funds for Landstuhl Fisher House, Weiden Tierheim (animal shelter), and VFW. We have also focused on raising social awareness for cancer, pets, and veterans.”
The Junior Leadership Society at Netzaberg is only one of many JLS groups within DoDEA. And the students here joined for different reasons.
“I joined because I wanted to learn how to be a better leader,” said seventh-grader Kristina Kizewski.
“I want to make a difference at the school,” said eighth-grader Emily Utter.
“I joined because I want to know the characteristics of being a good leader, which include humor, being truthful and taking responsibility,” Collin Cheney, a seventh-grader, said.
“I want to strengthen and improve my leadership skills,” said Rian Ritter, an eighth-grader.
Money raised at events organized by Netzaberg’s JLS goes toward charities and local non-profit organizations. The money also finances scholarships to aid future students wishing to attend the group’s annual seminar in Oberwesel, Cornett said.
The Junior Leadership Seminar is a six-day event designed to identify and develop leadership skills for use in school, according to the DoDEA website. Attendance is not a sure thing. Students wishing to attend must write an essay, maintain good grades and have minimal disciplinary marks, according to all those who attended last year.
“The seminar in Oberwesel is filled with leadership activities and team-building events,” said seventh-grader Shailyn Schaefer.
But the success of the local JLS in Netzaberg relies almost entirely on the involvement of its members. And its doors remain open for future members.
“We encourage other students to participate because we need help,” said Isabella Micallef, an eighth-grader.
“We want others to join because I want them to have the same opportunities and broaden their horizon,” said Rian Ritter, an eighth-grader.
Joining is easy and it’s worth the investment.
“There’s no need to be nervous about meeting others because we are all open-minded,” said seventh-grader Molly Cochran.
“You will gain respect from other students and adults,” said Shailyn.
“And it looks great on a college application,” said Emily.
If you are interested in joining, or if you have questions as a parent, contact the JLS sponsor at your DoDEA middle school.