The Character Movement

Monticello students participated in a Respect Retreat and the YFLC

It starts with respect

By Sarah Barchus, Youth Frontiers Communications Specialist

At Monticello High School, it all starts with respect. For the second year in a row, Monticello has held a Respect Retreat® for ninth graders on the first day of school.

The Respect Retreat helps new students get a picture of what the school values, Monticello’s Assistant Principal, John Reeves explained. “[It] helps us start the year off in a great way.”

That same day, the school paired freshmen with 11th- and 12th-grade mentors, many of whom also experienced a Respect Retreat in their first year of high school. “We put students making good decisions in front of freshmen,” Reeves said. The freshmen then meet with their mentors throughout the year to keep the message from the Respect Retreat alive. “That’s how we carry on the torch,” Reeves said.

Monticello further invested in its students by sending some of its 11th graders to the Youth Frontiers Leadership Conference in Minneapolis. Reeves said he was excited that the conference helped his students recharge and refocus on the right things, especially the idea that “change starts with me.” They are already looking for ways to better respect and acknowledge teachers and other students since the conference, he said.

The Respect Retreat and Leadership Conference have created positive change in students’ perspectives, students’ relationships and the connection between upperclassmen and freshmen, Reeves said. “In [our] school community, Youth Frontiers is shifting the paradigm,” said Reeves. “It focuses on the right things in the right platform, and that’s powerful.”

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