Published Mar. 7, 2023
BY AINSLEY HENDERSON
Festive, sparkly school dances. Prom. Spirit week. Intense, gym-wobbling rallies led by the energetic Eddy Zarate. Student-of-the-month donuts. Belly-flop competitions. @padrebobchs on Instagram.
All of these are facets of Carmel High, the small things that contribute to the school’s culture. But who comes up with them? Who puts the dances together? Who doles out the donuts and hands over the hot chocolate?
The answer? The students in Carmel High’s fifth-period Leadership class.
“Getting to help out the school and participate in raising spirit is great,” says Lily Lehman, Carmel’s junior class treasurer. “I also love listening to school issues during ASB meetings.”
The class, made up of 12 commissioners, 16 class officers and a smattering of other auxiliary students, has varied duties throughout the school year. At the beginning of the school year, much of class time is centered around fall rallies and welcoming people back to CHS, but as the year progresses, different tasks take precedence.
“There’s an ebb and flow of what’s happening,” says Aubrey Powers, who has been teaching Leadership since 2015. “Now we’re going to be focusing on Student Government Day, in which we’re partnered with city government officials, and there will be class time we put aside to make sure that the people who have volunteered to do that are working.”
Some students, including commissioner of recognition Caroline Byrne, who is tasked with communicating with Padre Parents and staff about Student of the Month, have jobs that do not differ as the year goes on. Others, like rally commissioner Eddy Zarate, find themselves only tasked with planning rallies a few times a year. The rest of the time, Zarate’s schedule is relatively open.
“Personally, I don’t get a lot of work done because my job only comes around every couple of months,” says Zarate, a senior. “But it’s fun to just contribute to the happiness of others.”
Powers notes that even when there is a bit of a lull, the less-busy students tend to help out with other tasks. Zarate, for example, is interested in art, and when there are no rallies on the horizon, he dedicates himself to the making of posters and other crafts.
“I work on student of the month and the recognition assembly at the end of the year,” explains Byrne, a junior. “I send emails to teachers and have them fill out a spreadsheet, and I go to [ASB bookkeeper Diana] Vita and we print out certificates and distribute them to different classes. It’s a lot, but it’s just usually once a month where I have to work really hard.”
When Byrne is not recognizing student achievement, she helps the athletic commissioners, seniors Ellie Rydeheard and Jim Moreau, with their duties.
“I just help out in different realms,” says Byrne, who plays varsity basketball and varsity volleyball for the Padres. “I make posters sometimes, and I’m interested in sports, so I help Ellie and Jim out with stuff like that.”
During the 55-minute period and outside during lunch and school events, the majority of spirit activities are entirely student-run. Leadership students come up with ideas, they put them into action, and Powers provides support and a timeline.
“I’m usually setting the agenda based on the calendar of activities,” Powers says. “The kids are doing the jobs and the roles. I oftentimes check in with the commissioners and the ASB officers, who work on their own schedules. Siri [Panetta] has her own stuff to do as treasurer, and Jack [Norman] has his own stuff to do as ASB president.”
Even though the Leadership students are good at self-motivating, it is inevitable that with 38 kids and only so much to do in a day, there will be some slack. Occasionally, the fifth-period acts as simply free time for some.
“It depends on the day,” says Vincent Camacho, a senior and the school’s campus and community outreach commissioner.