Centennial Leadership was in the middle of running our 3rd Annual Rockathon Fundraiser for the Alberta Children’s Hospital. I had to leave the event for an hour and coach rugby on our field.  Another teacher was left in charge just in case.  When I returned the photo booth was up and running and students were rolling up and down our main hallway on scooters and trikes, right on schedule. 

Brianna, one of our student leaders, came up to me later in the evening and told me how much she was loving how everything was going and that it was all student led.  Then she said “Mr. Dickson, You Didn’t Do Anything!”  Right after she said that she looked embarrassed and assured me that I had done a lot but that they were the ones running the activities with my support.  She then said that she thought I would be proud to see that everything was running as it should while I was out coaching rugby.  I assured her I was very proud and that the greatest compliment I could be given around a student run activity is “Mr. Dickson, You Didn’t Do Anything.” 

I first started teaching Leadership September 1997 at Yale Secondary in Abbotsford.  I was very worried about all activities and events being run near perfectly and looking good to our school community.  But as I attended conferences I would keep getting reminded that it is STUDENT leadership.  Not Teacher leadership.  It has been a process but I have gotten much better at this through the years.  I strive to prepare, prep and practice with my students before.  I let them make mistakes and learn from them.  I have better wisdom to know what can and what absolutely cannot fail.  I have a ways to go but I am much better at being an advisor to a STUDENT leadership program.   

How are you doing with your student leaders?  I would invite you and myself to consider ways to empower our student leaders to do more as we “don’t do anything”.

What is Rockathon?  

Rockathon was inspired by the highly successful Bikeathons run in high schools in Edmonton and Calgary.  They have students ride on incumbent bikes to raise money.  But we had no bikes!  Lillian Osborne in Edmonton shared that they had a similar bike problem and that they used rocking chairs.  Rockathon! 

Students form teams of 6-10.  Each student pays a $25 fee to cover the cost of entertainment, food, and supplies for the Rockathon day.  Then their group must raise $750 between them to qualify to attend the event.  If they raise $1500 they then get power at their station which allows them to play video games, bring a small fridge in, or make smoothies.  We had 9 groups and 5 of them qualified for power. 

Someone in each group has to be rocking in the chair from 8:30 AM until 11:30 at night.  We brought in food trucks at lunch which were available to the whole school.  Part of the truck proceeds went to Children’s Hospital.  Then after school we run activities including a photo booth, Centennial trail ride, Kahoot, Predator Prey, open gym, MRU students providing massages, and a Loose Moose professional improve show. It was a big success.  We raised over $13,000. 

If you have questions about how we run Rockathon please email me bdickson@studentleadership.ca 

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