OHS seniors receive award for outstanding leadership


Photo courtesy of Kayla Klipsch

Kayla Klipsch (12) and Maddie Michalski (12) pose with their award.

OHS Leadership students work with Special School District students every day, but two students went above and beyond to make some students feel a part of the school.

The St. Louis area held a Special School District (SSD) awards night and dinner on Thursday, March 8 at the Moolah Temple Ballroom. They honored OHS seniors Kayla Klipsch and Maddie Michalski, who received the Special Ambassador Award for creating an interactive ANP (Academic Network Period) program.

“I was really surprised at first because I didn’t know I was even nominated for the award,” Klipsch said. ”I was like why would they choose me, like it’s not a big deal, it’s just something I enjoy doing. Later, I realized it is a big deal because other kids wouldn’t go out of their way to help kids with disabilities and I’m very honored. “

The OHS Leadership class has been involved with the SSD program for several years. For Klipsch, it began with “lunch buddies,” when her leadership class sat at lunches with some of SSD kids.

“From there it turned into me hanging out and helping the kids every other day during my ANP when I am not with the lunch buddies,” Klipsch said.

OHS SSD teacher Mrs. Barbara Caverly came to Klipsch with the idea of getting a group of students together to do some fun activities during ANP, and Klipsch took off with the idea.

“Originally I had a sign up sheet for about five of the kids in Leadership to come each week, but people stopped signing up,” Klipsch said. “So I talked to Maddie Michalski because she cadets for the the SSD classes and the two of us began to run it by ourselves.”

For the past five months, Michalski has been helping Klipsch with the ANP buddies allowing the students to improve their social skills through activities such as games and crafts.

“It was a huge honor to receive this award,” Michalski said. “I was not expecting it at all; this was something Kayla decided to do and I wanted to help in anyway I could.”

Klipsch is even considering a career in special education.

“She has a really good gift with students and with people,” Caverly said, “and she has a big heart.”