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Students learn positive leadership skills
hoi kl joe coles
High school students from Hoisington, Ellinwood and St. John mix and mingle while enjoying snacks at the CLASS Leadership seminar in Hoisington last week. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

HOISINGTON — Joe Coles, consultant, was in Hoisington last Thursday discussing business etiquette and leadership skills with Hoisington High School students, Ellinwood High School students and St. John-Hudson High School students. Sixty-six students participated.
Coles visited with the students about the importance of making a good first impression, teaching the students with humor and fun.
The students went through several mixers, interacting with students from other schools. He opened the morning with showing the students the cordial business hand shake, which the students practiced. Coles told the students to look into the eyes of the person they are greeting and give them a firm handshake and a smile.
“Repeat their name back,” Coles said. “It helps you remember. Repeat it three times.”
He encouraged the students to speak with a smile.
The students found a partner from another school and practiced shaking hands. Each student was to give the other feedback.
They then took a break for snacks, sitting by their new friends. Coles reminded them to be good guests. The students practiced writing a hand written note.
After the break, the consultant spoke to the students about making a difference in their own schools.
HHS has had Coles out to work with students on leadership skills and anti-bullying. HHS Principal Meg Wilson said that Coles has taught HHS students over the past five years   to develop a vision with a plan of action, positively influencing the culture of the school.
HHS students participating in the seminar presented the information to the remainder of the student body.
The same students will meet again to follow up and reinforce their skills and vision. In December, EHS will host and in February, St. John.
Christy Tustin, executive director of the Golden Belt Community Foundation, presented a grant in the amount of $1,050 to Hoisington USD 431 to fund the CLASS Leadership program. The grant is from the Community Education and Development Endowment Fund at the GBCF.
“We are pleased to be able to support youth leadership training opportunities, especially when it impacts so many of our student leaders in several communities,” said Tustin.
Ellinwood High School Principal Shawn Henderson reported to the USD 355 School Board on Monday that the day went well. He also attended the event with students.
“They did a lot of neat things,” he said.