This month’s National Renaissance Student of the Month is Katerina Rushizky from Jefferson High School in West Virginia. The above photo was taken at summer camp, where she works as a counselor and lifeguard. Nominator Devon Pearrell writes:
“Katerina has truly made Jefferson High School a true Jostens Renaissance School. She is the president of our JHS Student Organization and embodies the 5 R’s of Renaissance and the belief that being a Jostens Renaissance School builds and strengthens relationships among students and staffulty. Katerina is ALWAYS thinking about new and engaging ways to promote the values of our organization and program. For example,this past month she implemented the #getpinned initiative – our JHS Renaissance members pin positive clothespins to students and staffulty throughout the week to pass along good vibes and positivity. She saw this idea at JRNC this past year, and has reached out to other schools that do this activity to get ideas on effective implementation. She also began random recognition of one student and staffulty member each week– they receive a little treat to brighten his/her day.
“Katerina is dedicated to the culture we are trying to connect at JHS. She spends countless hours and brain energy thinking of how to be the most inclusive, reach the most students/ staffulty members, remember why our school is a Jostens Renaissance School, and be a positive role model for all students at our school. JHS Renaissance would not be able to have as many positive activities and recognition/rewards at our school if not for Katerina’s dedication and grit.”
Katerina shares her Renaissance story:
What’s a favorite Renaissance moment for you?
Our Renaissance Club last year attended the Briar Woods’ #FindYourGrind Tour in early 2018. As a new Renaissance organization, it was amazing to see all the Renaissance schools in our area filled with so much energy and compassion. Going to the Jostens Renaissance National Conference this past summer was an inspirational moment for me as well. Having the ability to meet people from across the country with the same Renaissance mentality was amazing and educational.
More importantly, I love seeing the moments our students and staffulty immerse themselves in Renaissance.
How has Renaissance impacted your school’s culture?
Renaissance has had a huge impact on our school so far. Students and staffulty have expressed positivity and endless support towards Renaissance. Many other organizations have and are collaborating with us to work towards are goal of promoting and recognizing our students and staffulty. It is no longer just a Renaissance Club mentality but also a Renaissance School mentality at JHS.
How has Renaissance affected you personally?
A lot of amazing people and unique things happening at JHS seemed overlooked by our students, including myself, and staffulty and went unrecognized. By implementing Renaissance at our school, I can see the smiling faces of the students and staffulty it has touched. More students and staffulty get recognized for their hard work and talents outside of just academics and athletics.
I feel like I look at my school and the people there with a completely different outlook since I have gotten involved in Renaissance. I am more involved in school and have a greater appreciation for my school, the people there, and the impacts each person, myself included, make there.
The positivity and support Renaissance has received makes it all worthwhile. Students and staffulty are willing to help and get involved. It is remarkable to see what we have accomplished as a Renaissance school since implementing it last year.
What advice would you give to someone just starting with Renaissance?
Reach out to other schools and Renaissance programs! We have met amazing people from across the country and have exchanged ideas with them that we had never thought of. Going to JRNC and meeting so many students and staffulty was an amazing way to establish bonds with other schools.
Also, when coming up with ideas, don’t be afraid of not getting the end result you wanted. Instead of looking at something as a failure, you must change your outlook to view it as a learning experience.
Above all, make sure whatever it is you are doing is done with your best effort and positivity!
Katerina will receive a shirt and a lapel pin, and was entered into a drawing for free registration to this year’s Jostens Renaissance National Conference.
To nominate someone in your school for the National Renaissance Student of the Month honor, click here.