CATONSVILLE – When Zeal Goolesby arrived at Catonsville High for her freshman year, she wasn’t sure what to expect.
She was transitioning from a private middle school. She needed to make new friends and literally find her way in a large building.
The Catonsville High Comet Culture Senior Leaders were there for her and for her fellow Grade 9 classmates. They showed their younger peers where to go and helped them when they could.
Three years later, Zeal is returning the favor. She is one of more than 100 Comet Senior Leaders charged with mentoring younger students, leading discussions about a range of topics and serving as ambassadors for Catonsville High. This is the 14th year for the program, which celebrated Team BCPS Day by sharing details about how they lead with Interim Superintendent Verletta White.
“I love helping others,” Zeal said. “It makes me feel so good. Plus, leaders in the past were there for me and they helped me when I thought this place was scary.”
Students self-nominate to become a Comet Culture Senior leader. The self-nomination process takes place in May of their Grade 11 year. Students fill out a self-nomination form that asks about attendance, asks them to write an essay about why they think they would make an excellent Comet Culture Senior leader, and requires two signatures from either Catonsville High teachers or current Comet Culture Senior Leaders who will vouch for the fact that they live by the Be.Do.Create Your Best motto at CHS.
After acceptance to the program, students are engaged in a focus group where the incoming leaders get to select the six topics for the upcoming year.
Teachers write the lessons with student input and then Comet Culture Senior Leaders come back to school for a day in the summer to learn how to present all of the lessons. Comet Culture Senior Leaders also volunteer throughout the year as ambassadors of our school, tour guides, etc.
CHS Comet Culture Senior Leaders also greet guests, lead school tours, and ensure that the school’s proud tradition continues from one class of students to the next.
“You are the best marketers and ambassadors we could possibly have at Catonsville High,” Principal Matthew Ames said to the Comet Senior Leaders.
Students join for a variety of reasons. For Adrian Sims, he wants to serve as a positive role model. But he also wants to get experience leading classroom discussions. Adrian is an aspiring music educator who has composed music for Catonsville Middle students.
“It really gives you a feel for what it’s like to be a teacher in the classroom,” Adrian said. “It helps you learn how to teach a lesson. It’s a completely different perspective.”
Peniel and Bethel Beyene are twins. As you might expect, they are close-knit and are currently taking three classes together. They are both CHS Comet Senior Leaders. They said having a program like this at their school allows them to compliment the excellent work done by student government.
“There’s just so many of us that can take that leadership role through the program,” Beiel said. “We can all take ownership.”