Leading by Example

High school senior focuses on community involvement

Montezuma-Cortez High School senior Victoria Stanley stands next to the Panther mascot at the high school while modeling a shirt for cancer awareness. The shirts can be purchased for $10 and benefit the local Relay for Life event. Enlargephoto

Journal/Michael Maresh

Montezuma-Cortez High School senior Victoria Stanley stands next to the Panther mascot at the high school while modeling a shirt for cancer awareness. The shirts can be purchased for $10 and benefit the local Relay for Life event.

Montezuma-Cortez High School senior Victoria Stanley likes to be involved and help where and whenever she can.

Currently she’s trying to raise awareness and funds for cancer programs.

Stanley is a member of the high school’s Student Leadership Council. She said she joined because she wants to become more involved.

She plans to attend the University of Colorado of Colorado Springs to pursue a degree in business in the fall.

Her current quest is helping with the 2012 Relay for Life event to help raise funds for cancer research and awareness by selling shirts for the event. She was also instrumental in the recent Sadie Hawkin’s Dance and a six-on-six volleyball tournament.

Stanley said she manages her schedule by planing ahead, so she knows when she has to have certain things done and what obligations she has to fulfill as well.

As examples, she spends about six hours a week studying and about 10 hours a week on the Relay for Life events if there is an upcoming deadline.

Stanley, who is the youth chair on the local Relay for Life event committee that is scheduled for July. She is also involved in the May 24 high school’s mini-relay fundraiser for the event and she is now marketing the Relay for Life shirts for the run that cost $10.

The high-energy senior said she is really excited about the council and American Cancer Society, and added she thinks everyone knows at least one person with cancer.

She said she knows several people who have been inflicted with cancer including her stepdad Mark Stewart, English teacher Lynn Thiel, school resource officer Diane Fox, Re-1 chief financial officer Melissa Brunner and pastor Anthony Maes.

Stanley hopes someone will take the mantle and run with it next year once she finishes her high school career.

“I would like this to continue after I leave,” she said. “I would like to have a foundation established for next year for the high school and the community.”

She has been going to the Relay of Life event ever since she was a little girl and decided to be more active this year by becoming a chairwoman.

She said she knew taking more of an active role in the event would be a monumental task, but added she is just one person among many who is trying to make the 2012 event a successful one.

“I knew this was going to be a lot of work, but I enjoy it,” she said

She said she loves being active by doing things that benefit the school and the community and added working with the Student Leadership Council this year has been great. She also said she loved the opportunity it provided in doing something that helps someone else.

Stanley and other members of the Student Leadership Council also meets with Interim Superintendent Mary Rubadeau every few weeks to discuss what’s going on at the high school while trying to be a voice for all of the students who may not get the opportunity to be heard.

“We all want to work together to make it the best (high school),” she said. She added the council is in the beginning stages of working on policies that may or may not work.

“It’s a very cohesive way to find solutions,” Stanley said. “We feel our school gets a bad rap when we have a lot of good students. We are trying really hard to make our schools better.”

She said her hope is that the high school can become a pride center for the entire community and added that if the community supports the high school there will be a higher morale, more joy and overall better performance.

“I would love to see M-CHS thriving and a place students love to be and teachers love to teach,” she said.

One way to try to make the school better is creating a no-quitting policy for students who choose to participate in an extracurricular activity.

Stanley said once students make a commitment to a sport, club or any school activity, they need to stick it out and see it through to the end.

“We want to discourage (quitting). We want to have something that makes students achieve and see it through,” Stanley said.

The Leadership Council, she added, is trying to find ways to show new students what the high school has to offer and thinks this student-to-student interaction is better than the administration being the first contact for new students.

Stanley leads by example and she stays very busy.

She is one of the five seniors at the high school who is in line to receive an honors diploma and is also a member of the National Honor’s Society.

She also played varsity tennis for three years and has been active in the school student government, though she has never held office herself.

“I try to encourage other (people) to be more involved,” she said.

When Stanley is not at school, she is usually working at one of her two part-time jobs she has after school and mentioned it is a juggling act that requires her to try to manage her time wisely.

She works at Love on a Hanger and Cold Stone Creamery and usually works Monday and Wednesdays at Love on a Hanger and Tuesdays and Saturdays at Cold Stone Creamery and always is available to take on extra shifts when the business needs some extra help.

Michael Maresh can be reached at michaelm@cortezjournal.com