Saint Cols “Students In Action” Group Honored with Gold Banner

Saint Columbkille Partnership School’s Students In Action (SIA) group has been awarded the prestigious Gold Banner for their dedication and achievements in their first year participating in the program. The students focused on mental health awareness, organizing a spirit day and a buddy activity to support the Children’s Wellness Initiative at Franciscan Children’s, and presenting their work at the Museum of Science, which significantly boosted their confidence and public speaking skills.

Students in Action is a service, leadership, and recognition program that runs in communities across the country. Geared toward middle school and high school youth, it combines immersive training, engagement opportunities, and a prestigious recognition platform that honors achievement. Through SIA, participants develop a core set of 21st-century skills, such as communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and much more.

School Counselor Megan McShane, who facilitated the group, explained, “It’s a service learning program and the foundation of it is to build their leadership skills. In the fall, we focused on leadership training with topics such as how to communicate as a team, how to come to a decision as a team, and how to build on the good going on in your community.”

The SIA students also attended a leadership conference at Tufts University, where they participated in breakout sessions and networked with peers from other schools. By the spring, these students had transformed from reserved middle schoolers to confident leaders. Ms. McShane remarked, “It was impressive to watch them grow and take on challenges with determination.”

Leni, a 7th grade student who participated in the program, shared, “We never expected this recognition, but it shows that with dedication, we can achieve more than we thought possible. It built up my confidence and taught us valuable leadership skills.”

Their fundraising efforts during the spirit day raised nearly $350 for Franciscan Children’s, and they are already planning future initiatives. A group of Franciscan Children’s employees took the time to visit these students and thank them for their dedication to this work, including Kristan Bagley Jones, the Senior Director of Community Programs for the Children’s Wellness Initiative. 

Reflecting on the program's impact, Megan McShane added, “When I asked for feedback on the program a lot of them told me they learned that they had a voice. I think that is so important for our youth in our school and in our world that they know they have a voice. They know now that if they approach something with confidence, adults will listen.”

The Gold Banner now hangs proudly by the school cafeteria, symbolizing the group’s commitment and hard work. Their success highlights the power of youth-led initiatives and their positive impact on the community.