By: Hannah Johnson
The Newnan High School Ambassadors are making a large impact in the school and the community this year. The group consists of seventy-two members, led by NHS teachers Susan Turner and Allison Hurston.
Throughout the year they have led and participated in many community projects and events throughout the state.
Mrs. Turner stated, “Our feedback from the community has been overwhelming. Most importantly our students have worked hard to develop a network with so many community leaders and members.”
They have volunteered for over two thousand hours throughout the year so far. The students are expected to have forty hours per semester and eighty hours per year. They are also expected to do an individual service learning project, where groups of four had to develop their own project that would benefit Coweta County.
The Newnan Ambassadors compete in a competition throughout the state through the Georgia Secretary of State’s Ambassador Program. Each project and service activity gets points for our school, and NHS is currently second place in the state but battles for first.
The activities and initiatives the Ambassadors are involved with at NHS are as big in scope as the school itself.
They began the most recent school year by assisting with the chromebook rollout. They sped up the process of getting every student in the school a computer by helping organize and prepare the chromebooks before they were assigned to students.
The NHS Ambassadors put a great deal of time and effort into the Newnan High School’s Trunk or Treat. They made the event run smoothly and managed to successfully hand out candy to all of the costumed kids at Joe Pope Field.
Expanding their involvement outside the school, the students have reached out to the local community and helped people and other projects in and around the larger Newnan area. For instance, the Ambassadors have taken morning walks to meals on wheels to help get food ready to take out to people in need.
During the Can-A-Thon, the Ambassadors participated in CANstruction to collect more cans and drive donation efforts. At the CANstruction event, students had to use the cans they raised to make a sculpture.
Beyond just school supporting functions and student initiatives, the organization has found ways to reach out to our community and connect with them in creative ways.
In the previous years, they have taken multiple trips to the state capitol building. This year they were able to represent Coweta County as Secretary of State Student Ambassadors and became involved in our state government.
Together they participated in a variety of events involving the election. The students took a trip to the Georgia State Fair to do the Peanut Poll. They helped lead the poll and represent our community in Perry, Ga. Along with the State Fair, a group of students helped work in the polls in our community during the recent election.
They have also made important steps in becoming positive role models to elementary age kids and building long term relationships between students as well as schools.
One of their trips to Elm Street Elementary alongside the Cougar Connections program, where they mentor fourth graders, was about the election and talking to students about it. The Ambassadors take many trips to the elementary school to interact with the fourth graders and are constantly looking to help them connect with high schoolers and the world around them.
In addition to the Cougar Connections program, they have assisted in helping with school work, science experiments, games and many other activities that help form a connection with the students.
Kaylee Farr, NHS Senior and Ambassador, is one of the students who participated in the Cougar Connection program. She commented, “They look up to me as a mentor which makes me want to try harder for them.”
Along with forming connections with students, the Ambassadors have also formed connections with parents.
The Ambassadors led a parents night out, where they watched children so that parents could enjoy a night out together. They had games, crafts, snacks and movies for the children to enjoy.
Throughout the year they interact and volunteer with people of all ages.
During the month of September they took a trip to Wesley Woods, a nearby retirement living facility, to connect with other generations to celebrate intergenerational month.
Looking beyond just the human population, they began to help the humane society and animals in need around Newnan as well.
They began a project to raise money for the Coweta County Humane Society. The students had a day at McDonald’s to raise money for the shelter to continue care for the animals.
They have helped with Keep Newnan Beautiful and their pollinator garden. The students helped through pulling up weeds to maintain the garden. By helping in the garden, the students aided in keeping the community up and also attracting bees, an important species for society.
Mrs. Hurston teaches a first block community service class that incorporates Ambassadors and other students who are heavily involved in aiding the community. Hurston stated, “I wanted an opportunity for our students to become more involved in our community and to instill in them a servant’s heart.”
The class has helped to incorporate the Ambassadors and service into the classroom during school hours. A student in the class, Savannah Sherrer, said, “This class has helped me channel more energy into helping the people of the community.” She continued to say that they volunteer and help whenever and wherever needed.
Following semester break, the Ambassadors began a Pay It Forward Month where they will lead different events and involve the NHS students.
The first week, students will post a picture of them doing something good. The second week, students will write something positive on a sticky note and place it on the wall. The third week, items will be donated and taken to the Bloom Foundation. And lastly during the fourth week, they will be rewarded for recycling more than normal.
This month of activities will lead to a more positive atmosphere around the school facing the winter months.
Many of the students who participate in Ambassadors have been positively affected by their involvement in the community.
Bethany Schenck, NHS junior and Ambassador, participated with two other Ambassadors to raise three hundred and fifty dollars for local veterans. Bethany stated, “The entire process was wonderful and allowed me to see all the respect people have for the local vets as well as show the vets the thankfulness my group and I have for them.”
Another Ambassador, Addy Morris, commented, “Being an Ambassador for only a few months has taught me more than the rest of my sixteen years of life.” She continued to say how both Mrs. Hurston and Mrs. Turner have showed her that there is more need in our community than people see.
The Ambassadors program has caused so many positive effects in our community. There are so many projects that will continue or start soon to make a successful year for the Ambassadors and Newnan.