Al­lied and strong

Cres­cent Col­le­giate youth group af­ter 10 years

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Teacher Michelle Ma­honey can see them as she moves through the hall­ways of Cres­cent Col­le­giate in Blake­town.

They’re en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tions, show­ing their gen­eral out­go­ing at­ti­tudes.

You might say Ma­honey is just look­ing at the stu­dents she sees ev­ery­day as a part of the staff at Cres­cent.

But, these are not just reg­u­lar stu­dents that Ma­honey no­tices.

They are the 18 stu­dents who make up the Cres­cent Col­le­giate post of Al­lied Youth, an in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion geared to­wards young peo­ple in ju­nior and se­nior high, of which Ma­honey is the post ad­vi­sor and in her first year with the group.

The AY post at Cres­cent in­cludes mem­bers from Fair Haven to Heart’s De­light, and all in be­tween.

“We have one of the largest, and most ac­tive, posts in New­found­land,” said Ma­honey.

Stu­dents en­ter­ing the group make the com­mit­ment to be­come ac­tive mem­bers of their com­mu­nity. The group helps or­ga­nize and run ac­tiv­i­ties like blood donor clin­ics, food drives (they have one sched­uled for March with aims of fill­ing a truck with canned foods) and vis­its to re­tire­ment homes.

“The group at­tracts peo­ple who have nat­u­ral lead­er­ship abil­i­ties,”

“It’s re­ally hard to ex­plain what you do, and what it’s all about. There are no words to de­scribe it.”

— Ju­lian Smith

said Ma­honey. “So, stu­dents are quite ma­ture, and they tend to be the stu­dents who put off things like speak-offs.”

En­vi­ron­men­tal in­flu­ences

Ma­honey sees Cres­cent Col­le­giate as an ideal place for a group like Al­lied Youth to grow and flour­ish.

She doesn’t see the typ­i­cal ten­sions be­tween stu­dent groups you might see in other high schools.

“There is an open flow in the stu­dent body,” said Ma­honey.

This invit­ing en­vi­ron­ment has caused the stu­dents who are in the pro­gram to “flour­ish” and come out of their shells.

Grade 9 stu­dent Isaac Bon­is­teel got in­volved with Al­lied Youth when he ven­tured to one of its so­cials in Grade 8 with a cou­ple of his friends who were al­ready in Al­lied Youth.

He had so much fun at the event that he de­cided to join.

“We play games. It’s ed­u­ca­tional and I find it in­ter­est­ing,” said Isaac.

Ju­lian Smith is one of the co-pres­i­dents of Al­lied Youth. He said the group has a good rep­u­ta­tion in the school.

“Some peo­ple re­spect what we do in Al­lied Youth,” said Smith.

He does, how­ever, rec­og­nize that there are some peo­ple in the school who “are too cool for Al­lied Youth.”

Grow­ing as peo­ple

Isaac has found that since his en­try into Al­lied Youth, he has “made a lot of new friends.” For him, Al­lied Youth has been a way to be­come more of an out­go­ing per­son.

“It’s brought me out of my shell,” he said.

Isaac finds that he talks to peo­ple more, and he be­lieves Al­lied Youth “makes you hap­pier.”

Ryan Pretty is the other co-pres­i­dent of the group, along with Smith. Be­fore join­ing the group, Pretty said he “used to keep to him­self a lot.” He said Al­lied Youth puts you in sit­u­a­tions that force you to open up, tak­ing him out his com­fort zone.

“You’re of­ten put in places where you have to be a leader, you don‘ t re­ally have a choice,” said Pretty.

Smith said he was al­ways out­go­ing, but Al­lied Youth has “made him even more out­go­ing.”

A decade of work

Ten years ago, Al­lied Youth was a for­eign con­cept at Cres­cent Col­le­giate.

Jes­sica Peck­ham, who is now a teacher in­tern at the school, re­mem­bers how when ap­proach­ing com­mu­nity groups about help­ing out she was met with con­fused looks.

“When we said youth group, we were met with sur­prise,” she said. “Com­mu­nity in­volve­ment was a big deal.”

The group was started at the school in 2002, when Peck­ham was in Grade 8.

“A guid­ance coun­sel­lor at the school brought it in, and we loved it,” she said.

It was started in April of that year, and in Septem­ber the group held a mem­ber­ship drive.

“At first, there were only four peo­ple in Al­lied Youth,” said Peck­ham. How­ever, as the pro­gram moved into its sec­ond and third years, it con­tin­ued to grow.

Peck­ham has come full cir­cle since en­ter­ing the pro­gram.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Cres­cent, she moved onto Me­mo­rial Univer­sity in St. John’s to study ed­u­ca­tion.

Here, Peck­ham be­came a postad­vi­sor and con­tin­ued work­ing with Al­lied Youth.

She has since re­turned to Cres­cent as an in­tern, and has be­come in­volved with this cur­rent in­car­na­tion of the group. Peck­ham re­mem­bers how Al­lied Youth helped her grow as a per­son.

“It helped me be­come a more so­cial per­son and re­ally open up,” she said.

Ju­lian Smith has been asked to de­scribe Al­lied Youth to some­one who does not know.

“It’s re­ally hard to ex­plain what you do, and what it’s all about,” he said. “There a re no words to de­scribe it.”

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

The Al­lied Youth group in Cres­cent Col­le­giate has seen tremen­dous growth since its start in 2002. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in blood donor clin­ics, canned food drives and vis­its to old age homes, Al­lied Youth has in­te­grated it­self into the com­mu­nity seem­lessly. Mem­bers of the group are: front(from left) — Ja­cob Dubeau, Les­lie Rowe, Ash­ley Ge­orge, Kaitlin Smith, Tyler Engle and Daniel Power; mid­dle — Lind­say Lynch, Tay­lor Trainor, Crys­tal Gre­nier, Heidi Smith, Dakota Clarke, Ju­lian Smith and Shayla Smith; back — Michelle Ma­honey, Les­ley Burgess, Ce­leste Burgess, Is­sac Bon­is­teel, Ryan Pretty and Steven Rowe.

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