Kansas High School Students Help Run County Museum

KSN News, April 9, 2024 – Click to view original article

GREENSBURG, Kan. (KSNW) — Students in the Kiowa County Jobs for America’s Graduates program are getting a unique opportunity. In late 2023, the Kiowa County Historical Museum director resigned but left the idea of bringing in the JAG program.

“We were all on board with it,” board member Jeanie Finch said. “We were so excited about it.”

“The museum asked us to come in and just kind of take over to increase some foot traffic, increase some social media,” junior Hannah Greenleaf said. “We just thought, ‘Well, what better way to do that than to change some stuff up and get our community involved.’”

Three students are taking on the duties and responsibilities of the executive director position. Their first project in the museum is displaying quilts from people in the county.

“The fact that our students were sought out for this opportunity because they know our students are the real deal,” JAG Case Specialist Marcus Mitchell said. “And they know our students love giving back to the place that invests so much in them.”

“It’s a great opportunity to see some things from the community that I don’t think a lot of people see very often,” junior Silas Hawkins said. “It really is unique. I don’t think there’s a lot of people doing stuff like this, and it’s a cool way to show off Kiowa County and the community that we have here.”

“They always come up with good ideas,” Finch said. “We basically let them run with it.”

They say this is a way to get new people into the museum.

“It’s been the same for forever, so having a new presence come in, I feel like it brings life, color into the museum that hasn’t been there for a while,” Hawkins said. “The people that have been before can now come and see stuff they haven’t seen before. It helps them want to come back instead of, ‘Well, I’ve already seen everything.’”

It is also helping set the students up better for their future.

“It’s taught good lessons about teamwork,” Hawkins said. “You really see that not one person could do this. It’s one of those many opportunities JAG provides for people that I don’t think you could get anywhere else. It’ll look great on resumes and help prepare for jobs in the future. It’s unlike anything we’ve done before, so it’s pretty unique, and it’s a cool experience to be able to do this. It’s a lot of responsibility. It helps us learn what will and won’t work. It can help in future jobs. You can show that I’ve already taken care of projects like this, so I feel like I can take on some bigger roles.”

“I think it’ll set us up like time management, especially because it’s not like this is our only thing,” sophomore Regan Greenleaf said. “We have jobs, we have sports, school, and it’s very good to, like, have to balance all of that. It might get stressful at times, but it’s very good to see like what it looks like to have to balance lots of things.”

“They’re gaining so many things that don’t show up on a transcript or resume,” Mitchell said. “It’s on-the-job training, problem-solving and teamwork that they’re learning right now. It really is next level.”

The students’ work is beneficial for all.

“It’s good for the kids, its good for the community, it freshens up the museum,” Finch said. “The kids have always got something. It’s a new generation out there.”

They are also working on social media and other ideas to bring new life into the museum.