Leading lancers change the culture on campus


Danny Tajimaroa

John Vandenburgh, founder of Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS), inspires students through motivational lectures. Students are encouraged to participate in activities relating to social issues on campus.

Lancers coming together as leaders, diligently working to improve the experiences of every student.

The student leaders of Carlsbad High School met on Aug. 24 for lectures, group activities and team building exercises to learn the importance of being a leader as well as of being an inclusive campus. To capture the entire voice of CHS, multiple heads from each club, elective and class joined together to discuss the background of each student demographic and come up with plans to lower the exclusivity on campus.

“We learned how to be leaders on campus and get kids to feel accepted into our school,” senior and Associated Student Body President Courtney Benner said. “It was important to also express to the campus leaders the idea of making smart choices in order to include kids with less friends or that don’t go to any clubs in our schools activities.”

The leadership conference consisted of multiple speeches and activities throughout the day. Starting off the lesson, Superintendent Suzette Lovely spoke to the students about the significance of soft skills; Lovely focused on the importance surrounding grit, optimism and resourcefulness in our lives.

After this introduction, main speaker John Vandenburgh introduced multiple exercises to practice the ideas of the conference. Senior Sarelle Salvador felt that these activities helped push the message behind leading by example and by involving the entire school in events.

“I think the group games we played really helped us to understand what we were learning from each speech and helped the different students at our school to bond together also,” Salvador said.

The leadership conference ended with speaker Jake Robinson, who shared how he became a paraplegic as a senior — the result of a poor decision while driving. This lecture on the importance of choices led to the final exercise of the day: to discover how to fix the major problems at CHS.

Overall, student leaders focused on the issues involved with excluding parts of the student body from opportunities to gaining a larger role in the school.

“Our purpose is to create a culture on campus and in community where inclusion is a reality for all young people,” Vandenburgh said. “This starts with the students and teachers giving their all to improve life on campus for every person.”