- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
Endeavor Academy Panther Leaders create positive community
In the Panther Leadership course at Endeavor Academy, students learn how to be changemakers in their community.
“This class is a way for students to learn conflict resolution skills and how to communicate effectively,” Beth Orme, science teacher and Leadership advisor at Endeavor said. “But it’s also about a way to give students a voice at their school.”
Endeavor serves students who have struggled in traditional, larger high schools by providing them with a way to re-engage with school in a personalized environment. Creating a space where students can take ownership of their learning and feel a sense of belonging is a key part of the school’s philosophy as well as the purpose of the leadership class.
“Here, you’re not just a student, you’re a part of the group,” Endeavor senior Mya Hill said. “You’re part of Endeavor. We’re a family here.”
The class is intentionally small so students can build meaningful relationships by sharing their struggles and finding ways to build resilience in themselves and in their school. The class also looks for ways to support students by creating a strong school culture as well as removing barriers to student success.
Carter Rackley, another senior at Endeavor, shared that being consistent and reaching out to other students was a part of being in the Panther Leadership class.
“Being consistent, even if it’s just the little things like saying hi to people in the hallways every day…it’s not only about you, it’s about making other people feel they’re worth consistency,” Rackley said.
Creating these connections are meaningful for students, especially those who have struggled with shyness or making friends.
“I used to be really, really shy until I came to Leadership,” Endeavor junior Sandra Torres-Gomez, said. “Everybody was so talkative, and I kind of forgot of that shy person who wanted to sit alone and didn’t want to do anything. Now, I can talk to someone without being so scared about what they’ll say or what will happen.”
“I get to make an emotional connection even outside of school,” Endeavor junior Zhi Ceteways added. “I love connecting with others because everybody has a story, everybody has something to bring up to the table.”
Mental health, equity and community are important areas of focus for this class. In addition to creating mental health spaces in the school and hosting a Sources of Strength-themed field day, students work to remove barriers to education. Katie Dooley, a senior at Endeavor, shared that listening to her classmates and bringing concerns to Endeavor leaders is a big part of their work as a class.
“The issues that we’re trying to fix are the issues that come up through students,” Dooley said. “Like one of the things we did is take off the fee for parking passes because we understand not everyone can pay for a spot.”
Being faced with the task of helping students and making change can be daunting, but all the students agreed that this class has made a huge impact on their lives.
“We were able to do so much good things for this school and change things for students,” Endeavor junior Sasha Moore said. “I wish everybody in this school could join Leadership because they’re missing out!”