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Ambassadors preach `Power of 1′

The Garfield Re-2 School District realizes that students trained to be positive role models are a powerful influence on their peers. Because the district is highly committed to student safety and wants students to feel comfortable and safe in their learning environments, Rifle High School Principal David Smucker and guidance counselor Cindy Skinner visited a Glenwood Springs High School Safe School Ambassador student one-year review meeting last year. The two RHS representatives met with Community Matters Director Rick Phillips and Re-2 district middle school teachers to discuss whether the program would fit into the district plan. It was decided the program aligns with the district’s best practices criteria.School counselors identified leaders from their individual schools, staff members recommended valuable students, and random samplings of students were conducted to identify trusted student leaders. Approximately 40 students from each school will participate in the Safe School Ambassador program.Rifle High School, Rifle Middle School and Riverside Middle School have separate two-day trainings with Tory Capron, a Community Matters consultant. Students practice handling confrontational situations, helping others make responsible choices, and improving communication skills during their training. Safe School Ambassadors are trained to look for the value in each person and to notice acceptable behavior and what is not. Eyes are opened to realities of the costs of cruelty, violence and bullying. They are empowered to stand up for positive behavior and take responsibility for what is happening at their school, but are not encouraged to take on more than they can handle. Students begin to realize the “Power of 1″ – their ability to do something – anything – positive. This step can significantly turn around another student’s experience. Rifle High School’s training was held Oct. 1 and 2 at the Re-2 Learning Opportunities Center. The middle schools’ trainings will take place separately in the next six weeks at the same location.Some of the comments from the high school students after the training were:”I noticed every little thing we’ve talked about. It’s all there.””I feel more confident because we know we have people to back us up.” “I’m optimistic. This will have a great effect.” Capron is passionate about personal responsibility, respect, and safe schools. “You are taking a huge leap out of a tight little box (your circle of friends),” she said. The students appreciated her style and honesty. Re-2 District officials are impressed with the impact of her presentation.Skinner said, “At the very least, we had 36 kids who had a positive experience in recognizing humanness in kids they didn’t know. Kids will treat each other better. They will support each other in the good things they do and treat each other with respect.” Beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the RHS upper campus (Auto Mechanic/Ag Building) parking lot, various groups will host carnival activities including pie throwing, golf events, hoop-shooting, a dunk tank, and more. Food will also be provided as fund-raisers.A bonfire will begin at 8 p.m. that night at the same location. “These are the kids’ ideas,” said RHS Principal David Smucker. “These are all student-driven activities. We encourage everyone to come out and share in the enthusiasm of homecoming week and support the students.” Re-2 Maintenance Director Craig Jay stated the new Bears Stadium scoreboards, which are 20 feet wide and 11 1/2 feet high, will be ready for the RHS homecoming game on Friday, Oct. 10.The Bears Stadium has new lights and a state-of-the-art, 10-speaker sound system. The new lights are brighter and more efficient, reducing the number of lights from 120 to 48. -Congratulations to RHS Senior Jim Owens for his outstanding performance at the State Golf Tournament held at the Cattails Golf Course in Alamosa last week. Jim tied for 33rd place in the competition with 90 other students. This was his third trip to the state competition during his four years at RHS. “It was really cool going to State as a senior,” said Jim. “I got to see my friends from other schools on the Western Slope.” Jim arrives at the golf course an hour and a half to two hours early to mentally prepare for each tournament. He putts for 20 minutes, goes to the driving range for 30 minutes, and putts for another 30 minutes. Jim, Jeb Savage and Cole Manuppella received Honorable Mention All-Conference for their golfing efforts.Jim’s golfing strategy is, “Don’t hit it right, don’t hit it left, hit it straight down the middle.”


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