Three NDA Sophomores Finish Teen Leadership Program


Mattea Vecera, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The Greater Green Bay Teen Leadership program is a popular program run by the Greater Green Bay Chamber for incoming sophomores. Each year, students are chosen from schools in the Green Bay area, including Notre Dame Academy, Bay Port, Ashwaubenon, Preble, Green Bay East, Denmark and more.

This past year, three sophomore girls–Anna Zimmerman, Ava Van Straten and Brianna Fitzgerald–represented NDA.

“The program was a cool opportunity to get to meet leaders in the community and other high school age students who have a similar drive to me,” said Zimmerman in explaining what she appreciated about the program.

Near the end of each school year, the Greater Green Bay Chamber reaches out via email to the soon-to-be sophomore students, encouraging them to apply.

The application for this program is a lengthy process, and each is evaluated before choosing the representatives. The first phase requires a simple question and answer application, while the second phase involves submitting a journal. In this journal, applicants have to record observations around their school, spend time in new environments, talk to new groups of students, and more.

Once accepted, all of the students meet for the first time near the middle of August. From there, they all spend a school day once a month to learn about the qualities of leadership at different locations in the Green Bay area.

Some examples of places the students meet are at the Green Bay Chamber, Bay Beach’s Pavilion, and various places downtown. Each session also has a different theme that it focuses on, with guest speakers and games to go along with it.

Each student who is a part of the program is required to work on a group leadership project that is centered around finding a way to make an impact within the school and community.

This past year, Zimmerman’s group organized care packages for those serving overseas, Van Straten’s group created simple recipe cards for those living with a limited budget in Green Bay and Fitzgerald’s group worked with a homeless shelter downtown.

The graduation ceremony was held in early May at the Meyer Theatre, where each of the students from Notre Dame Academy was recognized for her service and leadership skills.

Notre Dame’s class of 2019 graduate Ashley Tuszka has worked at the Chamber for the past two years and helped with the leadership program following her graduation from it in 2017.

College Counselor Becky Bain attended the graduation ceremony and said that Ashley “did such a great job speaking on stage and being a mentor to her under classmates.”

This is a fantastic program and as a graduate myself, I would definitely recommend sending in an application.

About applying, Zimmerman said, “I would only recommend it if you are willing to give up your time in the school year to give back to the community. Sometimes it can be a lot with the final project and everything, but I think that overall it is a good program.”