Courtesy Gary Raymundo
RSVP student facilitators collaborate with one another for their weekly meetings.
Making positive change
Raising Student Voice and Participation (RSVP) is a club at James Campbell High School whose goal is to implement change in the school and the community. But the club is doing more than just that: It's also making a difference with the members.
CAMPBELL HIGH SCHOOL
Alyssa Bali and Angeline Rivera
91-980 North Road
Ewa Beach, HI 96706
"For me the club made an impact on my everyday life. I used to be one of those kids that sat in the unnoticed spot of the class, rarely speaking up," said Caslene Bulan, Campbell student and RSVP club member. "Since the club gets students to finally have a say in their school, community and nation, it changed me into a more outspoken person and to become a better student leader."
Sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Student Councils, it is a program that integrates into existing student council programs while utilizing student council leadership to engage students into creating positive change. "Students should join RSVP because it's an effective way to make a difference in school," Bulan said. "It also gets the whole school involved, not just the student councils."
The structure is rigid enough that organized plans are made and carried out efficiently, but simple enough that all of the students' ideas are heard and considered. "It's a very democratic program that allows student to give their voice," said Tammy Jones, Campbell teacher and RSVP club adviser.
Although the club is new and been chartered only this school year, RSVP boasts a high membership and is still growing. "We have five leadership teams and currently have 45 trained facilitators," Jones said. "Because they have to go into every classroom on campus, we need to train probably another 40 in the next month. The club, overall, will consist of 80 to 90 student facilitators."
Dr. Gail Awakuni, Campbell's principal, gave a starting push to establish what would be the first RSVP in a Hawaii public school. "She (Awakuni) approached me, asked if I would be interested in advising it," Jones said. "I then pulled in Daria Silvestro, another Campbell teacher, asked if she would be interested in helping me. Then we took four students to Washington, D.C., in January."
The students who attended the trip were trained in facilitator duties and roles as representatives of both Campbell and the state of Hawaii. "The training was intense but it was necessary," said Robert Firme, a Campbell student and RSVP trained facilitator. "There were other students who showed us how to engage a group of unknown people and to start an effective conversation, bringing up issues of their school as well as the community. Not only does this conference help develop leadership skills, but also character."
At the conference, students also learned that RSVP identifies and solves a problem through the implementation of four phases, called summits. The first summit asks, "What's the problem?" Then student facilitators visit classrooms and listen to students to generate a list of issues and concerns from those in the school and/or community. "Last year we did it (the summit) through the 10th grade," Jones said. "So every 10th-grade class had a student facilitator come and lead a discussion on issues in school."
In the subsequent summits, students meet to discuss a particular issue and a possible solution. "As a result of the summit in 10th, we came up with an action plan addressing school dress tops, and this year we're going to revise and try to follow through on that action plan," Jones said.
The nature of the summits is what makes RSVP unique from other student council organizations. The club magnifies and raises the influence that students have on issues in their school and community, allowing positive change to exist when students and adults cooperate on making the world around them a better place.
"A lot of students might complain that they feel their school doesn't care, or they feel that don't have a place to make any suggestions," Jones said. "That's the best part of RSVP: It gives every single student on campus a voice. Not just the trained facilitators, the leadership team or the teachers, but every student has the chance to give them something, and that's probably the best benefit."
Campbell's RSVP club has a lot in store for the future, including a jump-start on school reform. "In our last meeting we were planning on going to advance our action plan on the dress tops," Jones said. "We're not going to get rid of them, just maybe revise the policies. In the future we hope to actually follow through with the action plan."
Another challenge ahead for the club is recruiting new members. "We also need to train 45 or more people and then carry out the summits in the whole schoolwide campus," Jones said. "So I think in store is the opportunity for every student at Campbell to have a voice in problems and concerns they have with the school."
Courtesy Angeline Rivera / Ewa Naupaka
Rear Adm. Browne presents Cadet Senior Chief Lindsey Fulp, a junior at Campbell High School and a member of the school's Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training unit, with her certificate of promotion.
Admiral’s visit inspires cadets at Campbell High
The school's Navy JROTC program impresses its guest
"Wow." A simple word, but to the 50 cadets of James Campbell High School's Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training (NJROTC), the three-letter word held a much deeper meaning. Rear Adm. Michael J. Browne, the first admiral to visit Campbell in 16 years, said this after watching Campbell's NJROTC's promotion ceremony held Sept. 5.
According to Cmdr. John Hutchison, the senior naval science instructor (SNSI) at Campbell, Browne was interested in visiting Campbell because of the recognition the school's program has been earning. Hutchison added later that he thought the visit "was to encourage people to consider maritime careers, in the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard."
Browne's visit was fairly straightforward. He was taken on a tour of the spaces (the Navy's term for rooms) of Campbell's NJROTC, shown the many trophies and awards the unit has won over the course of its existence, and invited to join the promotion ceremony conducted that morning.
Campbell's NJROTC is widely recognized as one of the best in the state and the nation. Last year it was the only unit in Hawaii invited to join 25 other schools nationwide at the prestigious Navy Nationals Competition in Pensacola, Fla. "We are the first Navy JROTC unit in the state to attend" the competition, said Cadet Ensign Paul Carboni, a student at Campbell and an officer in the unit. These accomplishments were what prompted the Commander Naval Service Training Command (CNSTC) to recommend Campbell for Browne's visit.
After seeing the NJROTC rooms, Browne was guided to another room on campus where he was greeted by an arch of swords, a military custom performed for important guests, conducted by the unit's Honor Guard. Stepping into the room, Browne observed 50 cadets, a small representation of the large unit, gathered for an awards ceremony where cadets received promotions to higher ranks within the unit. The admiral shook hands and took a picture with each recipient. "I felt very honored that Admiral Browne was there to see my accomplishment," stated Cadet Senior Chief Lindsey Fulp, a member of Campbell's NJROTC unit.
Following the ceremony, Browne showed the cadets a short but poignant video about sea power, the measure of a nation's ability to use the sea to its advantage and deny that use to its enemies, and how it affects global economy and society. The video highlighted the roles that the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard play in this duty.
Browne concluded his visit to Campbell with a brief question-and-answer session with the cadets. "My favorite thing about the Navy is all the people I get to work with ... and that includes you guys," the admiral said to the cadets. His visit had a profound effect on the unit: "We gained knowledge to better ourselves for our future endeavors," said the unit's commanding officer, Cadet Cmdr. Cheyenne Ritt. Hutchison simply said, "The man is an inspiration."
What club did you join this year, and why?
Nico De Jesus
"I joined Literary Connections because I thought it would be interesting. What I got out from joining this club: seeing the funny side of my teachers."
"I joined HOSA because I heard it was a great program if one wants to go into the medical field. What I really like best about this club is the HOSA competitions."
"I joined LEO club for community-service hours. They do community service all the time, so it's a lot easier."
"I joined the 96706 Dance Squad to learn some new dance moves and meet new people. And because I was a new student, I wanted to find a place where I could be myself -- and I did."
"I joined the Interact Club this year because it's my senior year and I want to be more involved."
"I joined FCCLA because I was interested in different types of food and I like cooking."
"I joined Drama club because I needed an extracurricular activity but ended up liking it."
"I joined FCCLA because I was interested in culinary and I love food!"