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CCHS hosts senior-led conferences

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County High School seniors reflected on their time at the school during student-led conferences starting on March 13.

Over the course of the next three days, every senior will participate.

Students gave a speech in front of a school administrator and were then asked a series of questions about their time at the school and future plans. Each student had the opportunity to invite family members to come watch.

Student Hannah Gilliland said she worked on her speech for two weeks. She said she was nervous going into the process, but once she started it was not as bad.

In her speech, Gilliland focused on what she has learned at CCHS.

“It has helped me realize that you can really overcome anything, if you put your mind to it,” Gilliland said.

She said she enjoyed receiving feedback as a part of the process.

Phil Burnette, Gilliland’s guardian, watched her speech and was “impressed” with the process.

“I think it will benefit the kids,” Burnette said.

He said Gilliland has “become more outgoing and more willing to become involved in things” during her high school years.

As a CCHS graduate, Burnette said it was good to see the positive things that were happening at his alma mater.

Student Jake Glass was relieved to see the set up was a bit more relaxed than he had envisioned.

He said the process emphasized the importance of being prepared and “as long as I’m open I should do well with future interviews.”

Glass said the speech “gave me an outlet to write what I thought about the school.” He included both positive and negative aspects of his high school career.

“I love my school,” Glass said.

Glass said narrowing down his ideas of what to include in the speech was challenging.

“I love this,” Missy Brewer, Glass’ mom, said. “I think it helps to give them (the school) an insight in to how the students’ feel,” Brewer said. “I was actually really impressed that they started doing this.”

Student Emily Green said the process was a good preparation for when she starts interviewing for jobs.

“Trying to stay focused and write my paper and put my thoughts and feelings into it” was challenging, Green said.

Student Jordan Ray said she was “dreading” the senior-led conference at first, but it was not as bad as she thought it would be.

Ray said she was glad to have the opportunity to practice interview skills.

This is the second year for the school to hold the conferences.

Assistant Principal Jason Deason said the format was the same as last year.

“It provides them an opportunity to be a little bit vulnerable, and they get to open up and reflect about the time that they have had in high school and what they want to do when they leave,” Deason said.

He said since family members are invited to attend, it also provides a time for parents to find out more about what their student did in high school.

Assistant Principal Rosalyn Dixon said her favorite questions for the students were if they could go back and change something in high school what would they do differently and whether the student considered themselves a leader or a follower.

The conferences also serve as a time for students to say what they would change about the school.

“We accept constructive feedback, as well as the superlatives, and the students are very transparent, and that is one of the things I enjoy about it,” Dixon said.

She said some changes that have already been made at the school came from student recommendation.

Dixon said she stresses to students that their plans may change from what they want to do after high school right now, and that is all right as long as they hold on to their core values.

“I’m so proud of them,” Dixon said.

Seniors will further practice their interview skills during Senior Blitz next month when they will be interviewed by four community members.