Taking Initiative

Students take the initiative and leadership roles in projects and in planning for their clubs, committees and teams.


Cheyenne Brown, Editor-in-Chief, Griffin Writes

Students collaborate using their problem-solving, creative, and planning skills to host, create, and execute activities and events for the student body to enjoy and make memories while in high school. Numerous groups, such as the student council, yearbook staff, and the theatre department have established themselves as independent and student-produced, with little to no dependence on adults.

Student Council leads countless events for the rest of the student body to enjoy. They meticulously plan assemblies, spirit weeks, school dances, and more. For spirit week, each day is assigned a theme, and students dress up in accordance. The students planned and set up a winter dance by hanging lights, blowing up inflatables, and putting out games. They are also responsible for representing the school. Student body president senior Gianna Rizzo oversees it all.

“Student-led means that students lead. We don’t really have a teacher directing us, it’s run by students. Being student-led means it’s actually us, it’s not something we were told to do. I’ve gained a lot of gray hairs but I also gained this feeling of independence where it’s like I’m not being told what to do,” Rizzo said.

Student-crafted tales come to life in the little theater when the seniors write, produce, and direct miniature productions called Shorts. They plan, script, and cast independently. It is truly the students’ pieces. They use shorts to demonstrate all the skills and tricks they have learned and gathered through their time in class and on stage. Seniors have the opportunity to produce them, but they are not the only students involved. They cast peers from all grade levels at auditions and guide them through rehearsals. These students lead by example and use their skills to guide and help cultivate the talent of others.

“It’s nice to be involved in something my fellow peers have worked on for almost a year. It’s really different compared to performing in an actual play with an actual director because these are students I’ve been in theatre with since I was a freshman and all I wanted was to make them proud of what they had written,” junior Sam Littlecreek said, “It’s not every day that you see a whole production be mainly student-led and it was really rewarding to see them become leaders and organize such an amazing production while also allowing underclassmen to explore theatre.”

Every year, many students order a yearbook to commemorate their time at Tonka. The yearbook is typically around 200 pages worth of students’ documented memories and achievements. The Odyssey yearbook staff of 21 spend the year covering students’ lives and activities through writing, photography, and interviews. Each photo, word, and quote was documented by students for students. It is a year-long project that gives students something to look at to commemorate the school year. Many of these student activities display the integrity and hard work students put in to give the best product. Yearbook Editor-in-Chief, senior Macy Goetz, keeps everything in order to reach that goal.

“We divide our staff into photographers, writers, and designers. We have specific students work on each of those. We also have three people on staff, including myself, who are our editors. Emma Hilt and I are co-editors-in-chief, and Eva Tracy is our photo editor.” Goetz said. “We take on the leadership role to make sure everyone is fulfilling their part on staff. I think that having student-led publications or activities shows other students that they can do what they want to do and achieve their dreams.”

These are not the only student-produced activities and committees at the school. The step team, Tonka Steppas, are led by the students on the team, and they plan every performance down to the time, outfit, routine, and music. Many clubs such as the National Honor Society, prom committee, and cornhole club, are led by members of the student body. The family and consumer science classes may be directed by staff, but everything that is sewn, baked, or carved is entirely produced by students. Student involvement strengthens bonds and helps develop essential leadership skills in students. Student-produced performances, activities, and events are just part of the experience at Winnetonka High School.