VOICES: Lessons about leadership at Trotwood-Madison High blood drive

An assignment for my Business Fundamentals class at Trotwood-Madison was to pick someone we look up to who has a leadership role in our community. My first thought was Trotwood-Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Reva Cosby.

My freshman year she came to talk to some of the girls in my grade about starting a team leadership group. She gathered everyone she thought would be a great asset to the group.

She said she hoped the group would continue leadership skills and help obtain college scholarships.

The day of our interview was the day of our school blood drive, and I wanted to donate for the first time. When I first got there, I thought, “Oh know, I’m going to miss my interview with her.” But I was told she was actually donating blood too. She asked if she could be seated next to me so we could donate together.

She said to me, “This is showing some leadership, because you are doing this as a sophomore. Other people will see this and say, ‘If you can do it, they can do it.’ It’s very impactful!”

I remember when I was scared, she would look over to me and smile and say, “It’s O.K.” I was very nervous. She was like, “This is my millionth time doing it!” She said, whenever she can, she would always donate. She tells people it’s a way to help others.

In my interview with Dr. Cosby, I asked her questions about her job and what she did as superintendent.

She said her job is to empower students to be successful. She said that was very important to her. She said she does this by getting the lay of the land, what is going on. To help students she created the motivational quote, “Aspire to go higher.” She said at the end of the day, if students don’t believe in that, then it is wasted, it would be a losing battle.

I asked, ‘If she wasn’t superintendent what would she want to be?” She said she would want to be an artist for a children’s book. Her audience would be anyone who loves the outdoors and colorful things. That surprised me because I viewed her as the superintendent for the high school but forgot that she’s the superintendent for the other schools like Madison Park and Early Learning Center, and cares about students of all ages.

She said her main focus is giving hope for high schoolers, which is why she created “Heroes of the Household.” It’s basically how parents help the students by encouraging them to do things like homework.

I asked her, “What is one thing she wants to change about Trotwood?” She wanted to change the perception of Trotwood. She said a lot of people don’t believe we could be the best school in the county, but she believes we can.

She also wants students to believe in themselves. That’s the idea she had from the beginning of the interview, that if they don’t believe in themselves, they can’t “aspire to go higher.”

She had an idea in the works for a “Positive Culture” committee with the teachers in our school. The goal of the committee is to change the culture to be more positive, to make students feel good and have positive energy when they walk into the environment.

I asked her what her favorite thing is about being superintendent. She said it’s engaging with the students, like watching the band perform, getting to see their Black History Month program, and genuinely feeling like you can make a difference.

I asked her to give a tip I could share with everyone. She said it’s to treat people how I’d want to be treated, not how they think they should be, or how they treat me.

Yasmina Oumarou is a sophomore at Trotwood-Madison High School.

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