Middle school student leaders work to obtain sign for school

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Fri., Feb. 22, 2013
Members of the JFK Leaders for the Future group are working to install a sign in front of the school. Photo by Colin Rajala.
Members of the JFK Leaders for the Future group are working to install a sign in front of the school. Photo by Colin Rajala.

When you drive past John F. Kennedy Middle School at the end of the school day as students board their buses or walk home, it is very clear the building is a school, but when the hustle and bustle is not there, it is hard to decipher what exactly the building is.  A group of 10 JFK Middle School students who are part of the JFK Leaders for the Future group are showing their Patriot pride as they worked alongside the town to start the process of installing a sign in front of their school, helping to identify it.
They have met with their advisors, guidance counselor Kim Nadeau and music teach Sarah Brown, once a week since the beginning of December to talk about the project and see it all the way through. After doing some research, they soon found out the project was going to be more difficult than just designing a piece of wood through the technology education department; they would need approval from the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission to post the sign on school property. With the project underway, the students were delegated roles from calling Planning and Zoning Director Jose Giner and other members of the commission to reaching out to sign companies for designs and estimates.

“It’s amazing to see the different grades work together and bring their different strengths to the project, buckle down and get in a group and organize it,” Nadeau said. “It’s nice to see kids take pride in something for their school. They are proud of where they go to school; they want people to see the positive things here and the great things that we are doing here.”

Prior to presenting their proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 7, members of the group met with Giner to learn what the process was going to be like. He said that the students asked the right questions and followed through with their work, noting they did it with minimal hand-holding from him or his office. He also said he is not sure why there is no sign for the building, but he believes there may have been one on the building before being covered by the construction of the new library.

“It’s great that they took the initiative to reach out and actually do it the right way,” Giner said. “It showed a real willingness on their part and the type of qualities that the program is trying to install in students to be good citizens. It’s a good way to get kids involved in the process early on.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the free-standing sign to be situated at the front of the library. The sign will feature the school’s mascot, the Patriot, as well as the school’s name, address and a welcoming statement. The group will pay for the sign through the school’s activities fund and hopes that it will be up in front of the school before the end of the school year.

“They did not realize the qualities they have as leaders,” Brown said. “Doing this project, they have really learned about themselves. It’s great as an educator to see them celebrate their success.”

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