Local high school teacher making impact with lunchtime leadership program

MACOMB, Ill, (NEWS3) — Local high school students are using their lunch time to learn about what it takes to be a leader.

Macomb High School health and P.E. teacher Zach Keene is using his lunch time on Wednesdays to make a difference.

Keene was inspired by a program called “What Drives Winning,” a book and yearly conference where coaches, current, and former athletes share their experiences and what they learned through sports about what it takes to be a leader, a good teammate, and a better person.

“I think what it does for them is it paints a picture for them down the road,” Keene said. “It makes them a better person. Don’t focus so much on the winning and losing, more so on the process, and it doesn’t necessarily mean getting better at your particular sport, maybe you’re just becoming a better person.”

Students at the high school love the program, and are voluntarily using their lunch time to listen and learn.

“It gave me a totally different perspective on not just sports, but life, making friends, and being a good leader,” member of the Macomb High School golf team and junior Braedan Duncan said.

Keene has been trying to get the program to be added to the schools curriculum for two years. Thanks to the work done by science teacher Karissa Ham, that is now a reality.

“(She) has been phenomenal, she’s kinda taken it on as far as paper work, and done a lot of the leg work, she put pen to paper and presented it to the curriculum committee,” Keene said.

The Macomb Board of Education unanimously approved the class being added to the curriculum starting fall of next year as an elective, but due to the popularity of the course, students must fill out an application or be recommended by a teacher to be allowed to take it.

Macomb Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Twomey is a huge supporter of the program and is amazed by the initiative taken by Keene and Ham.

“These are teachers who say ‘lets take this opportunity’ to bring kids in and actually teach them how to be good leaders, and be impact members in their communities,” Twomey said.

The class will be offered to students in the fall of 2020.