JKB teaches leadership at Carpentersville Middle School

JKB leaders left to right, junior Michelle Molini, senior Maura Benson, junior Maggie Devereux, senior Alison Walsh, Kennedy McNamara, senior Brad Reibel, junior Zach Tuczak and senior Mike Latulip

By Jane Berry
Associate Editor- in- Chief
The eighth annual leadership workshop at Carpentersville Middle School in Carpentersville, IL., was hosted by the J. Kyle Braid, or JKB, Leaders Thursday, Dec.1.“When I worked here (Carpentersville), I thought our kids needed good role models: high school kids who really cared about younger kids, which is why we have been doing this workshop for so long,” Dr. Jay Kyp-Johnson, JKB sponsor  said.Teachers from Carpentersville chose about 80 seventh and eighth graders to participate in the workshop. At the beginning of the day, they were split up into eight different groups, so that each leader had a manageable ten kids.
The day started out very quiet, the middle school students taking a while to get comfortable, but the leaders along with sponsors Jay Heilman and Frank Mirandola helped to get everyone out of their shells and the day took off.
“It’s absolutely contagious. If one person is excited then another is excited then you get everybody kind of juiced up. It’s fun” Heilman said.
The leaders played many games including, the name game, a rock, paper, scissors tournament, a team building activity with a tarp and many more. Meanwhile, Dr. Jay, Heilman and Mirandola went around writing on index cards what each student was doing well and handing it to them as a way of positive encouragement.
The crowd favorite was definitely the hula hoop game. Within each group, everyone linked arms and passed a hula hoop around their circle.  This eventually turned into a giant competition with everyone yelling encouragements. It got particularly challenging when a second hula hoop was given to the groups.
For Shannon W., Carpentersville eighth grader, the hula hoop contest was  her favorite because she learned that “working together helps get the job done even when you have to try different ideas.”
After the game and excitement, the kids sat down for lunch, while the JKB leaders, realizing there would not be enough time to do every activity planned, decided what the next step was: they decided to play a stereotyping game.
The game consisted of getting six student volunteers and placing a note card on their forehead so that only the audience could see it. The leaders then asked the volunteer questions about school and the audience was asked to respond how they would normally respond to that type of stereotype. So, for example, after the kid labeled class clown talked, everyone would laugh, but after the labeled “bully” would talk, everyone would cower in fear.
Before the leaders left, they conferenced with their individual groups, going over what they had learned for the day.
“The best thing I see with these workshops is that the kids get to see that someone that they’ve never known before, never seen before, that don’t know anything about them, really care about them,” Kyp-Johnson said.