Union County High School Principal Floyd Lyles says the purpose of its newest club is to develop individuals at the school as people, students and community leaders.
The UCHS Ladies and Gentlemen’s Club held its third meeting in Room 600 of the Union County Career and Technology Center just before lunch on Thursday. Lyles told all who were in attendance that the club is all about leadership, character and building trust.
Students were asked to “dress for success.” Lyles said the dress clothes will become a weekly Thursday routine for those who participate in the club. Lyles also presented group members with a task for the day.
“Leadership is about serving and being responsible,” Lyles said. “I want to set an example. At the end of lunch, I want you to help me assist our custodians and pick trash up off the tables. Tell the custodians that you appreciate what they do every day.”
Lyles said he looks forward to getting students out of their comfort zone and pushing them to improve small things like attitude, manners and respect for themselves. He plans to give the students a voice and build their confidence to help them grow into leaders.
“Eventually they will get to the point where they will share ideas and lead,” Lyles said. “My goal is to set the bar really, really high. Every week they will have a different challenge.”
Lyles told the students he expects their best every day and that he promised the dedication would pay off. He said he plans to increase group activities as the students progress. He mentioned that the club could venture out for various community projects as well as visit other schools and read to younger students. Lyles said he will continue to remind the students that UCHS is a special place and ask them how to make it better.
Following Thursday’s meeting, one student approached Lyles and told him that dressing up may be a problem for her.
“I mainly have a lot of casual clothes — jeans and stuff,” the student told Lyles.
Lyles did not hesitate.
“We’ll help you,” he said. “Go in the office and see Ms. Gilliam. Give her your sizes. We’ll help you.”
Lyles initially started the Ladies and Gentlemen’s Club during his time as principal of Jonesville Elementary/Middle School, and he said he was not sure if high school students would have the same positive reaction.
“I thought 10 would be a good start, but on the first day we had 35,” he said. “It kept growing and now we have 76.”
Lyles was first inspired to create the club after reading “Inspired to Learn” by Stephen G. Peters.
The first club at JEMS began with nine boys who had never been very successful in school. As a group, they started “dressing for success” on a weekly basis, going on field trips and taking on leadership roles. Each of the students’ grades and attendance improved, and the group soon grew from nine boys to 50. After that, young ladies petitioned to be involved in the group and participation grew to nearly 100 students, giving those who participated a sense of success.
Club members’ assignment for next week is to learn the club pledge, which is as follows:
Today I pledge to be
the best me that I can be,
to demonstrate integrity in all that I do,
to treat others with respect,
remembering always that I must
respect myself first.
Today I pledge that I, and I alone,
am responsible for making
Today I pledge to demonstrate those
behaviors that are consistent with
following my own dreams and
Today I pledge to be grateful for this
opportunity to be led by those