Spreading the light: the Morale Boosters Club

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ELLIE PAPPAS//THE SCROLL

Outside of school counselor Tamala Brown-Malone’s office hangs a flier for her new club — the Morale Boosters Club. The flier was designed by Brown-Malone and founding member Akaia Bobo (12), who drew the hot air balloons as an ode to the club’s motto: “we rise by lifting others.”

What is morale? Is it heart? Is it enthusiasm? Is it spirit? Yes, it’s all of these and more. But, if one is still unsure about what the definition of morale is, counselor Tamala Brown-Malone’s Morale Boosters Club will help make the meaning very clear.

After an attempt to boost positivity with the courtesy committee, Brown-Malone wished to give her positivity project a fresh start. She spoke with Akaia Bobo (12) and Ramyla Dahmer (12) about her idea for the Morale Booster’s Club and then secured a grant from school commissioner Amber Huett-Garcia, which gave them the green light. 

“We were actually there when she first sprung ideas to us,” Bobo said. “We started getting all the things together, and she started saying what the little motto was going to be and what plans that she had … it was really her idea, but we were there to help bring ideas to the table, so it was nice being a founding member.” 

Bobo is one of 26 students that will aid Brown-Malone in her mission. The students, who were all nominated by teachers, will help out with the club’s activities. They will also have a more personal role in boosting morale in individual classrooms. 

“The teacher and the student [will] work in conjunction just keeping that particular classroom boosted and hopefully they’ll touch that one classroom,” Brown-Malone said. “Those students in that classroom can touch other students and it will go on and on and on and it will grow.”

Along with focusing on individual classrooms, there will be larger activities for the whole student body to participate in. For example, Morale Booster Club member Braylen Robinson (11) has planned an upcoming group-posing challenge for students during their lunch periods to vote on. 

“Mrs. Brown-Malone came up to me and [Bobo] one day, and she was talking about the importance of [what] doing a pose does,” Robinson said. “And she [was doing] a superhero pose, and she was trying to show that it was empowering. It kind of looked silly at first, because she just did it. I was like, ‘Okay, I guess.’ But then later on, I was thinking about it, and I was like, ‘Well, I see a lot of friend groups posing for pictures and stuff … So, it was my idea to come up with a thing during each lunch where we call up groups of friends and have them … make …  their signature group pose.” 

Other plans for the club include positivity training — monthly activities like November’s Thanksgiving door decorating contest to emphasize the importance of gratitude and an end of year celebration. 

“I feel like the club’s goal is to … just boost the spirit of the school, make students be more involved, make them happier during school, make them want to come to school, make them actually enjoy school — not view it as something that ‘I have to do,’ make it something that they actually want to be more involved in,” Bobo said. 

Two of the larger events for the club that are still being planned are the end of year spring celebration for the entire student body, which will have 10 guest speakers from the community, and an end of year retreat for a select group of students. Along with the club’s many activities, there will also be monthly positivity training led by school clinician, Erin Herrington.

“I think awareness is very important because a lot of times we take in so much negativity, we don’t know how to handle it … so the training is very important,” Brown-Malone said. 

Even though the positivity training and the overall idea of the club may sound similar to the district-wide Social Emotional Learning (SEL), the Morale Boosters Club is planning to take a more personal and interactive approach. 

“I feel like SEL is more of like an, ‘Okay guys, sit down, pull out your computer’ — it’s like [Morale Booster’s Club] would be more of an interactive type-thing, like, ‘Everybody, get up, let’s start moving, let’s actually do something instead of just looking at your laptop and watching this

,’” Bobo said. “It’s not like SEL isn’t helpful, but I feel like this would be more interactive and people would be more engaged with this.”

While teachers will aid in morale boosting, another aspect of the club is that they will get to be rewarded as well. Through the collection of weekly data about the morale in classrooms, Brown-Malone plans to select a teacher each month to receive a special prize — the golden apple.

“Teachers just deserve something because they’re teachers, like they come out here everyday … and try to do their job,” Robinson said. “I feel like it’s important that we reward them too.” 

As there are many events planned for the student body’s entertainment, members of the club like Bobo look forward to coordinating the events and watching their effects. 

“I’m glad I’m being more involved with this school now,” Bobo said. “ … I had a problem with being positive at one point, so it’s just nice to help other people with something that I have a problem with sometimes … I’m glad I can be in the position to help other people and give positivity back to other people and see them be happy.”