October 5, 2013

Dalton students work on communication, leadership

Charles Oliver

— Several Dalton High School students sat back-to-back recently discussing drawings they’d made. Others stood in a circle tossing balls. Still others tried to guide a ring down a piece of twisted copper tube using a set of guide strings.

It may have looked like fun and games, and the students did seem to be having a good time. But they were also practicing some skills their teachers say will serve them well in school and in life.

“To be a leader, you’ve got to have good communication with the people you work with,” said junior Monica Vega. “This is all about learning to communicate.”

And the games they were taking part in were designed to help them build communication  skills and teamwork. Take the group that was trying to guide the ring down the twisted copper tube.

“You’ve got to figure out who has tension on their string and work together or you can’t do it,” said sophomore Mac Hodges.

And the students sitting back to back?

One had to describe the drawing and the other had to figure out what it was. That tested their ability to listen and their ability to describe the drawing.

The team-building events were part of CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) Leadership Development Day.

“I came up with this idea about six years ago to bring together the leaders of our different groups,” said CTAE Supervisor Doug Shults. “We have a lot of students who are really shy, and this helps bring them out of their shyness.”

The students were all officers of career and technical organizations such as FFA, the Technology Student Association, the Future Business Leaders of America, DECA and SkillsUSA.

In addition to the team-building games in the afternoon, the students worked with trainers from the Shaw Learning Academy in the morning.

“We had certain problems that we had to solve and goals we had to reach with limited resources, and we all got a chance to take a leadership role,” said senior Alondra Gonzalez. “It has been really fun. We’ve gotten to meet new people and work with them.”

Junior Monica Vega said she hopes to pursue a career in marketing.

“It has been teaching us how to communicate, and that’s very important in marketing,” she said.

State Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton, also spoke to the group.