A group of 30 student leaders from Linden High School recently attended the “Find Your Grind Tour” – a pep-rally-style event that brings students and staff from different schools together to learn to improve school climate and culture. 

The Jostens Renaissance event, held at J.P. Stevens High School in Edison on March 6, included inspirational stories from renowned youth speaker Mike Smith and Renaissance educator Phillip Campbell on how they created change within their society. They provided several examples of students coming together as a whole to support everyone in their school community. Students and educators were also encouraged to “Find their Grind” — or passion — and return to their schools with a vision for change.

“Mike Smith and Dr. Phillip Campbell inspired all in attendance to be true leaders, create ‘Stories Not Stuff,’ and most importantly, never be afraid to chase your dream,” said Shamona Patterson, a social worker at LHS, who accompanied students along with LHS social worker Ryan Devaney and teacher Nicole Campo. “Our students were so motivated and excited to bring back to our school many of the ideas discussed.”

photos of chaperones and students with featured speaker

At left, LHS chaperones Nicole Campo, Shamona Patterson, and Ryan Devaney at the "Find Your Grind Tour." At right, students Janai Williams (front), Ariana Eastwood (middle), and Asia Todd with featured speaker Mike Smith.

The event featured separate breakout sessions for educators and students. The educators learned a variety of ways they can support students and create change within the culture and climate of the school, including teacher of the month recognition, monthly student-attendance recognition, and motivational words painted on walls.

“Being able to attend the assembly really motivated me to accomplish every single one of my goals and let nothing stop me from doing that,” said junior Marizel Yequi. “It opened my eyes and made me realize that only I am the one who can stop myself from not following my dreams.”

group photo of students with speaker

LHS students with Mike Smith, center in wool cap, featured speaker at the "Find Your Grind Tour."