BLOG leads the way

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A newly formed group at Randolph-Henry High School (R-HHS) has taken the initiative to promote leadership, safe driving and anti-bullying.

According to R-HHS teacher Karen Osborne, the Be Leaders of Our Generation (BLOG), was started during during the last school year by a group of students with her involvement.

“The word got out it and it spread like wildfire,” said Osborne. “By the end of last school year, we had 10 students.”

She said there are currently 20 active members in the group.

“I decided to create this club because I felt the need for strong leaders at RHHS,” Osborne said. “I was active in the SODA (Student Organization Developing Attitudes) club when I attended here, and I wanted students to have the experience of attending leadership conferences at colleges and meeting new people.”

She said that members of BLOG have used various tactics to educate their peers, including holding random seatbelt checks in the mornings in collaboration with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department.

The group has also calculated how many individuals are seen eating, playing with music and texting while driving.

“Vehicles are stopped in the parking lot of R-HHS so they can be warned … of what they are doing incorrectly,” said Osborne.  “BLOG members tally up how many vehicles they stopped and how many were actually driving correctly without any distractions.  An announcement is made of the PA system of the outcome.”

Osborne said that random checks are usually conducted at least two weeks apart and each year, the outcomes show improvement.

“Our BLOG group at R-HHS has been extremely active in educating our students about the consequences of making bad decisions,” said high school principal Robbie Mason. “Whether these decisions involve driving under the influence, distracted driving or other hazardous actions, the BLOG group has been instrumental in guiding students to better choices. Hearing this advice from other young people has a profound impact on students.”

Osborne said she has seen the devastating effects that driving while distracted can have, fueling her want to make a difference.

BLOG students support other schools by helping Central Middle School with its fall carnival, giving Bacon District Elementary School activity books for Halloween and providing movie night once a year at the high school.

“Having a group of students who advocate for responsible decision making helps to offset some of the negative peer pressure that students feel to make poor decisions,” said Charlotte County School’s Superintendent Nancy Leonard. “Hearing from other students who are encouraging wise decisions gives encouragement to other students  to think clearly and independently when negative peer pressure situations arise.”

The BLOG group has received several awards, including 2015 Club of the Year and 2015 New Sponsor of the Year at James Madison University’s YOVASO (Youth of Virginia Speak Out) conference.

The team was also awarded third place in the Virginia Arrive Alive Campaign after competing with 100 high schools, according to Osborne.

BLOG member Shawleace Hill said she enjoys being a member of the club “because it’s good helping people and helping lives. It’s more than a club to me, it’s a movement.”