Virtue Pack: Kick-off a success

December 2011 Posted in School

By Cirra Halter, JFK Student

On Dec. 1, Kennedy High School students enjoyed a delicious chicken dinner and participated in dodgeball, interactive video games and an academic relay.

The evening was conducted by the school’s Virtue Pack leaders and founder Randy Traeger.

Head coach of Kennedy’s football team, Traeger is well-known for his implementation of the “Virtue First” program at many Oregon high schools. The program is sponsored by a nonprofit organization dedicated to “exercising virtue to reconstruct the character of America’s youth.”

To reach students on a more personal level, Traeger partnered with Kennedy’s leadership program to create “Virtue Packs” – groups of about 20 students led by one leadership student to promote a positive school climate and to tackle problems, such as bullying, promiscuity and homelessness.

So far, the “Packs” have been a success; one Pack raised more than $200 at a basketball game to buy warm clothes for the less fortunate. To celebrate the success of the first few Virtue Pack meetings and to allow the students to bond, a Kick Off Party was arranged.

The Kick Off started after school with an energetic game of dodgeball. As foam balls darted back and forth, the mood of the gym was competitive, yet positive. After three games, students were split into two groups. Half went to the library where they participated in the laugh-inducing, interactive dance game,

“Just Dance” on the Wii. The other half stayed in the gym for an intense academic relay in which teams of
students lined up and raced to answer a series of school-related questions.

After the relayers and Just Dancers swapped activities, students enjoyed a chicken dinner. One teacher happily noted that “cliques were broken… people weren’t just sitting with their usual friends.”

When students were asked about the evening, the responses were positive. Admitting to being initially skeptical, student Kody Regimbal, gleefully admitted “It was actually really fun!”

Student Body President Kaylee Aman said almost every person that went had a great time. Senior Daniel Hammer agreed, adding, “The people that came were very productive and they had fun.”

Traeger was pleased with the event. “The purpose of Virtue Packs is to create a mechanism for turning discussions about problems into virtue-based corrective actions, to change the culture of the school environment into one where students really look forward to getting up and coming to school each day,” he said.

Virtue Packs are designed to help students become more empathetic toward the lives of others and gain a personal perspective on larger social issues that affect teenagers and the community in general.  They also engage students in the social problems of their life and times and to make them think about how seeking the “common good” through virtue holds the key in living a good life.  They also help create a simple format for excitement by fostering a friendly atmosphere of competition.

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