Panther Leaders are very well known around Oswego High School as the best of the best students who help out the freshmen class through the first year of their high school journey. Seniors Katie Kuhn and Shay Grady are all about what being a Panther Leader means, and they are honored to have the prestigious title.
“[A Panther Leader is] an upperclassman that is selected by teachers to help and instruct freshmen with their transition from middle school to high school,” Kuhn said.
The Panther Leaders are a group of students made up of juniors and seniors who go into freshman seminar classes and teach the new freshmen all about high school. To become a Panther Leader, you have to be nominated by three or more teachers just to be considered. From there, those students who are able to acquire the necessary recommendations are put into a pool where they have the opportunity to be selected.
In freshman seminars, the Panther Leaders and their freshmen take part in many different activities. For example, the freshmen learn how to manage time, take part in games, and get to know each other through the activities they do in the second half of their lunch period.
Freshman seminars also give the freshmen somewhere they can go talk to somebody when they feel the need to.
“We have activity days where we play games to get to know each other. We also have lesson days where we talk about different things around the school or our social life, sports… [we also started this year something called confidentiality where] we split the class into groups and we just have one on one conversations and check in on [the freshmen],” Grady said.
Most Panther Leaders also enjoy the opportunity to get to know the freshmen one-on-one and become actual friends with them.
“What I enjoy most is the bond you create with the freshmen and how they can be your friends not only in but outside [of class] too,” Grady said.
The leaders enjoy being able to talk and interact with the freshmen and watch them come out of their shells.
“In the beginning, the freshmen are shy and don’t talk a lot, and it can be a little awkward,” Kuhn said
However, throughout the school year, the freshmen become more social with not only kids their age, but with the Panther Leaders as well.
“[Panther Leaders are here to] help the freshman know more about our school [and to] show that Panther Spirit is a thing and its important,” Grady said with a smile. “[Our jobs also provide] a good way to get the freshman more involved and excited for high school.”