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BCMS's Kelly Hinthorn helps students become leaders

by VICTOR CORRAL MARTINEZ
Hagadone News Network | May 19, 2021 1:00 AM

Kelly Hinthorn, along with a talented team of students at Bonners Ferry middle school, has worked hard to create a stronger community by bringing together students to develop their leadership skills and build upon their character for a better Bonners Ferry.

Hinthorn has worked tirelessly to be an educator but pays it forward by returning to Bonners Ferry after college to enhance the education of others and build tomorrow’s leaders today.

When asked during a college scholarship interview about how she saw herself giving back to the community, Hinthorn said, “I specifically remember thinking how badly I wanted to come back to Bonners Ferry and make a difference for students just the way my teachers had positively impacted my life.”

Community service has always been a significant aspect of her life; If there is a chance to be involved, you can expect to see her contributing somehow.

Hinthorn, talking about her involvement in the community, said, “Whether it's through coaching sports, helping with DYW, playing the piano at my church, or attending Rotary events when I can, I love to give and serve... especially when youth are involved.”

This passion for community service in Bonners Ferry has brought programs such as leadership to help show the youth how they can be involved in helping their community.

According to Hinthorn, eight years ago, the principal asked if anyone wanted to teach an extra elective class. Hinthorn quickly took it upon herself to create the leadership class.

The Leadership class focuses on four main categories: community service, school service, school spirit and recognizing others.

“We've worked hard to create a reputation for being involved in the community. We regularly have community groups ask for our help with whatever service project they need help with at the time,” Hinthorn said.

Leadership is a class focused on preparing students for leadership opportunities in high school and the work environment; offering students the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in the following areas:

L – Learn about leaders… past and present (videos, books, guest speakers)

E – Everyone Counts – learn skills through cooperation and teamwork

A – Advocate your ideas through speaking and writing

D – Dedicate time to volunteering and service to the school and community

E – Educate yourself about current events (videos, articles, class discussions)

R – Remember to think about your actions. “A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.” ~Unknown

S — Self-discovery/Self-esteem (make yourself a better person)

COVID-19 disrupted the school system in a way that hasn’t been seen before, but with all these obstacles, the leadership program worked tirelessly to produce the events still.

This year the leadership program and Hinthorn have accomplished or worked on the penny drive for veterans, food drive, rotary, school board meeting presentations, forget me not Run, ladies in leadership and working with Two Tones for community fundraising events.

At the school level, the leadership program worked on Christmas jolly jars, book fair, college “gear” drive (organize getting college shirts and promoting monthly college shirt days), daily announcements, morning door greeters, 12 days of gratitude, bulletin boards, fundraisers for the leadership class.

The leadership class works on teacher appreciation, community leader recognition spirit days, dances, student versus staff activities, march madness, talent show.

“It might sound cliché, but I truly believe children are our future. I also believe that some people have a negative image of middle school students,” Hinthorn said, “often when people ask what grade level I teach, and I tell them middle school, they reply, ‘Oh, I'm sorry.’”

Hinthorn, like many other educators, wants to change any negative perceptions about middle school students who are at a critical stage in their lives.

“I love middle school students, and I choose this age for a reason. They are amazing people with huge hearts and a desire to help. I want to provide them with every opportunity possible to make a positive difference in our community.”

According to Hinthorn, If they can find a passion for helping their community now at a young age, potentially this will carry them through high school and into their adult lives.

When asked what makes a community stronger together, Hinthorn stated it does take a village; everyone in this community is connected and in it together.

“My husband and I chose to raise our children here because of the village; we help teach and mentor hundreds of children, and we also love those other adults are helping teach and mentor our children.” Hinthorn said.

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(Photo courtesy of BCMS Leadership) Students during the March Madness door decoration competition.

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(Photo courtesy of BCMS Leadership) Teacher Appreciation event with sweet gifts for BCMS educators

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(Photo courtesy of Facebook) Pictured: Kelly Hinthorn