Students from the EPHS Operation Snowball club visited Elm on Thursday, Sept. 23, to present "Snowflake," a daylong program of activities and sessions for the school's 8th graders.
The annual event focused on teamwork, peer support, positivity in the face of obstacles and the importance of making good choices.
Operation Snowball was founded in 1978 in Rockford, Ill., and has grown to become an international youth program that empowers student leaders through prevention education, community advocacy and leadership development.
"I remember Snowflake happening when I was in middle school," said senior Uriel Delgado. "Just the fact that it's so vivid in my mind, I'm just happy to be here and give back for the kids."
The day's schedule, organized by club members and their sponsor, Ms. Marinelle Arenga, included a virtual keynote speech by motivational speaker Jim Love, classroom sessions and a series of outdoor team- and trust-building activities.
The visiting high school students also introduced the 8th graders to "warm fuzzies" — threads of yarn meant to be given to others as a way of breaking down barriers. Recipients were asked to attach the yarn to wrist bands or necklaces. By the end of the day, students who might have been strangers before Snowflake were making connections with one another.
"Our whole thing is about building teams and bringing leadership skills to those who are younger," said club member William Hale, an EPHS senior.
He summed up the day's message as: "Bring out your voice, be yourself, be awesome, help others out — it’s all about bringing everyone to their fullest potential in terms of leadership as well as being themselves."
Photos from Snowflake 2021
The following photos were taken at the Sept. 23 Snowflake event at Elm Middle School. Visiting EPHS Operation Snowball members led 8th graders in activities designed to build leadership and teamwork skills. Click images for larger view. (District 401 photos by Dave Porreca)