EXIRA — The Exira-EHK Leadership LEO Club has had a busy year until the Coronavirus pandemic closed their school. They shared some of the many amazing service projects worked on by the club’s 47 strong members and their cosponsors Connie Jessen and Lisa Dreier.

The Leadership Club meets monthly with team leaders which are Ellie Schultes, President, Kamryn Waymire, Vice President, Erin Irlmeier, Secretary, and Hudson Kitelinger, Treasurer. The rest of the team leaders are Creighten Nelson, Ethan Andersen, Tyler Petersen, and Blake Petersen who help organize their club’s events and monthly agenda. Team leaders (listed with the grade they are in) and their family members are Ellie Schultes — senior, Jayden Jensen — senior, Makenzie Riley — sophomore, Trey Petersen — freshman, Katie Anderson — freshman, Eric Wilson — eighth, Emily Bricker — eighth; Kamryn Waymire — senior, Cade Bruns — senior, Quinn Grubbs — freshman, Ella Petersen — freshman, Hailey Snider — eighth; Erin Irlmeier — senior, Jacey Anthofer — senior, Mckenna Larsen — freshman, Gavin Bengarrd — freshman, Jameson Kilworth — eighth; Hudson Kitelinger — senior, William Paulsen — senior, Macy Emgarten — sophomore, Ashley Hansen — sophomore, Jessi Marshall — freshman, Aiden Flathers — eighth Creighton Nelson — senior, Alexis Madsen — senior, Camryn Paulsen — junior, Ben Paulsen — sophomore, Shay Burmeister — freshman, Bailey Weston — eighth, Jaiden Pettipier — 8th Ethan Andersen — senior, Wyatt Madsen — senior, Claire Schluter — junior, Mollie Rasmussen — sophomore, Haley Harris — sophomore, Hannah Nelson — eighth, Tyler Petersen — junior, Lauren Hansen — senior, Hunter Andersen — junior, Kate Hansen — sophomore, Jackson Radcliff — 8th Blake Petersen — junior, Amy Hartvigsen — senior, Tatum Grubbs — junior, Brody Haag — sophomore, Maddie Christensen — freshman, Justin Hansen — eighth.

Club members started the school year serving the meal and sponsored the Homecoming Tailgate Dinner with help from the Audubon Cattlemen grilling hamburgers

The Exira-EHK Leadership Leo Club sponsored Cary Green, who is an amazing guest speaker and author spoke about leadership and success skills given to our MS and HS. JH & HS Leo’s help set up, helped with the Bake Sale, and served at the annual Exira Fall Festival. They also helped with the blow-up activities; helped set-up and serve at Battling for Bo Bartz Fundraiser at Exira Event Center; The Leadership LEO & HS TAG Program sold BO Wristbands; The club helped the elderly at every Audubon Mobile Food Pantry; Ellie Schultes and Kamryn Waymire created a new Spartan Youth Leadership Club in the Exira Elementary Building and helped serve Azylee Flu Clinic & Soup Supper; made Sunday meals for Omaha Ronald McDonald’s House and had a huge success with the second annual Leo Haunted House at the Lions Building. The group made and sold over 200 Pies for Puppies Program, which raises funds to purchase Leader Dogs for the Blind. They helped with games for the Optimist Fun Night and made 10 fleece blankets at their morning meeting to honor Ayzlee’s Fleece Blanket Tie Party; picked up trash on the LEO Adopt A Highway and JH and HS Leo students help New Opportunity with their Christmas Caring and Sharing Program by sorting and packing toys for families in need.

Youth Leadership Club delivered food and personal hygiene products to the Elk Horn Lutheran Church and Exira Christian Church and a thank you goes out to our entire school for donating toys and food. The LEO Seniors were Santa’s helpers who delivered treats to all the elementary students. Group members served and bused tables at Exira Christian Church Fall Dinner; sponsored Blue Out For Bo at CAM Home Basketball game and sponsored the Annual Mardi Gras/Dance/Dinner for third, fourth, fifth grades and a thank you breakfast from the Bo Bartz family at our monthly meeting.

Cosponsors’, Connie Jessen and Lisa Dreier, are stepping down from their Leadership LEO roles at the end of the school year. The new cosponsors for the club will be Riann Hansen and Megan Wilkerson.

“My years of cosponsoring the Leadership LEO Club has been one of my biggest fulfillment of joy in life, the many students over the years who have blossomed into young adults that helped serve their school and communities, meaningful fundraisers, exciting events and projects. I sincerely feel that the Leadership LEO CLub has been the best educational and self rewarding experiences for our Exira-EHK students by helping to serve and care for people in our school, community and world! It has been a great privilege to work with this amazing, ambitious and passionate, cosponsor, Connie Jessen over the years. Ms. Jessen has taught me so much about life’s blessings, truly caring about making a difference in the educational field and genuine friendship!” said Mrs. Dreier. “My time with LEO Club has certainly been one of my greatest blessings in life. We have been given the chance to work with amazing students, helping them develop lifelong commitments to leadership and service to their communities. Working with Mrs. Dreier in this capacity has fostered lifelong respect and friendship, she is truly an amazing, compassionate, dedicated, and energetic educator and person. Her passion and love for the students and her community has been inspiring to me as an individual. Leo Club has been an awesome journey full of priceless memories and friendships!” said Connie Jessen.

Ms. Jessen’s and Mrs. Dreier’s favorite service projects over the years have been helping with Habitat for Humanity Housing Program in Audubon, Carroll, Manning, Denison and New Orleans, La.; serving meals to those at the Omaha Ronald McDonald’s House; serving at the Omaha Open Door Mission, helping to plan and serve at Meals for the Heartland; fundraisers for loved community members with health problems; years of helping with Audubon New Opportunity Christmas Caring and Sharing Programs; making Pies for Puppies event; helping with the community of Exira and Elk Horn Nursing Homes; help serving events for the Community Clubs (Exira Lions Club, Elk Horn Optimist Clubs, Exira Community Club; annual Mardi Gras/Dances for Elementary kids where HS kids have fun and dance with our youth; going to many years of wonderful and inspiring Leadership camps and conference with our students and so many more...