Student Leadership Groups Paving the Way at Prairieview

Students leading students is a common thing to see at Prairieview.

“We will all have something we can bring to the table,” says 9th grader Olivia Oriho.

There are several groups meeting weekly to focus on really important issues at school and in life, C.O.R.E and the Prairieview Ambassadors.

“C.O.R.E. stands for Community of Racial Equity,” says 8th grader Alexis Choi. “I do it because I really want to help people at Prairieview know what it is and how they can use it in their daily lives.”

“I wanted to join Ambassadors because I feel like it’s important to raise your voice and stand up for what you believe in,” says 8th grader Via Jenkin. “I believe that everyone should be treated as an equal person and there shouldn’t be any fear about expressing yourself as a human being.”

Impressive thoughts from impressive students.

“I remember sitting over at District Office, looking at the social justice standards from Learning for Justice and trying to think, how does this work in the schools and what does it look like?” says C.O.R.E Sponsor Emily House. “It was exciting, but I don’t think any of us imagined how far the kids would take it and how much they would take it to heart.”

“The students are talking to one another about equity standards. They are standing up for one another. They are sharing ideas,” says Student Ambassador Sponsor Katherine Teff. “I’ve heard it as a ripple effect. It starts in one place and those conversations just continue and continue.” 

“One of the most impressive things that I’ve seen in the children here in Waukee is how they are open minded global citizens, who are ready to take leadership on social issues,” says C.O.R.E Sponsor Elizabeth Bulthuis. 

Prairieview Ambassadors are all about equality and inclusion. 

“It’s what we want to represent as a Waukee community,” says 8th grader Ava Flores. “As an ambassador I don’t think we should think we are more superior than others.”

Impactful conversations and powerful projects are also happening during C.O.R.E.

“Currently I’m working on a slideshow for women who follow their core values and take a stand,” says Choi. “I put examples of women who put themselves out there because of what they believed.”

“Leaving these meetings I feel better and I feel like I have a safe place to go to after school and I’m excited to go to it every week,” adds Oriho.

The same can be said for the adults in the room.

“It’s about safety,” says House. “Anything I can do to facilitate their safety and growth is really important.”

The conversations don’t stop in the weekly meetings. The work of the Prairieview Student Ambassadors and C.O.R.E now involves every Prairieview student.

“They’ll (students) come up to me and say I saw you doing this video! We learned about women who leaned on their core values,” says Choi. “Just hearing that feedback makes you happy because you worked hard on it and they are learning something from it.”

The month of April is a crucial time for both of these groups. Soon, they’ll be heading over to the high school and starting a different journey. Their teachers say they are ready for the world.

“We just coach them through the equity standards,” says Bulthuis. “They are the ones who are promoting their voices and also being the voice of those who do not have a voice.”

“Without even realizing it, that baton gets passed, and they run with it,” says House. “They run faster and farther than I ever could on my own. It’s the best.”