A Lesson Beyond Leadership: Brenna Hartse


Hartse arrived before the sunrise at Squaw Creek for the leadership retreat.

Anna Reinhart, Opinion Editor

“It made me want to be like the upperclassmen there who weren’t afraid to be themselves,” Brenna Hartse, jr., said.

She had just walked into Kennedy High School as a freshman and already was looking up to her junior and senior cougars at the annual Leadership Retreat.

For Hartse, it wasn’t just about learning to be a leader. It was about learning to be herself, and not being ashamed of it.

“My junior year I applied immediately after hearing about it on the announcements,” Hartse said. “I realized that if I could help an underclassmen break out of their shell and learn to be themselves, that I had to do it.”

Hartse’s experiences in the Leadership Retreat have been nothing short of exemplary.

“I’ve had so much fun, and I’ve learned so much more than I ever thought I would,” Hartse said. “I am so proud to be a face of leadership at Kennedy, and that I can show underclassmen just how to not only be a leader, but how to become who they are, I mean that’s what high school is all about.”

Hartse describes former freshman self as fearful of her voice being heard and feeling as though she couldn’t possibly be a leader around a school like Kennedy.

“The day I got the pass freshman year, I was so confused,” Hartse said.

But that confusion quickly turned into pride. She didn’t know which teacher invited her but she was very proud to be recognized out of all of their students.

“The Leadership Retreat taught me not to follow others and do my own thing,” Hartse said.

All because of the Leadership Retreat, Hartse broke loose from trying to be like everyone else, and found a significant power in individuality.

“I remember seeing all these cool upperclassmen and I just wanted to be like them, leaders who weren’t afraid to be themselves,” Hartse said. “I will be the first to turn in an application next year, and I can’t wait to help underclassmen the same way upperclassmen helped me, become me.”