WEEKI WACHEE — About 70 Weeki Wachee High School music students stayed after school until midnight Aug. 24 to participate in the music department's third leadership retreat. This year's theme: "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens."
"We do one every year," said Morgan Burburan, chorus teacher and Weeki Wachee fine arts department chairwoman.
The retreat was open to any chorus, band or musical theater student. Any student seeking a leadership position within those groups was required to attend.
The afternoon and evening included guest speakers and activities. Topics covered were: "Take Responsibility for Your Life," "Define Your Missions and Your Goals in Life," "Prioritize, and Do the Most Important Things First," "Have an Everyone-Can-Win Attitude," "Listen to People Sincerely," "Work Together to Achieve More" and "Renew Yourself Regularly."
After Burburan's welcome and introduction, community members addressed the students. Superintendent Bryan Blavatt talked about leadership in schools. Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis addressed leadership in service.
Josef Knott, director of the School of Music at the University of South Florida, talked about leadership beyond school and local business owner John Mitten spoke about leadership in the workplace.
Students were served snacks and dinner — partly donated by Mitten's Chik-fil-A — then jumped into team-building games and activities. One of those was the human knot. Students made a group and grabbed each others hands. Then they had to untangle themselves without letting go.
The idea behind the activities was team building and trust building. Burburan said natural leaders tend to guide these challenges or defer to others as needed.
One thing the teachers wanted to do this year was bring more unity among the school's three musical divisions, she said, "to be more of a fine arts department."
With a senior class for the first time since the school opened, the department is expanding. There are about 150 chorus students, about 60 musical theater students and 45 to 50 band members, Burburan said.
"The program is really growing," she said.