STORM Team: Making a positive impact

Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:06 pm


The 2013-14 school year marks 19 years of Bill Francis serving the Boyden-Hull school system. As the high school’s guidance counselor, Francis wears many different hats — he meets with junior high small groups each week, helps students change their class schedules, and assists seniors apply for college. One of the most rewarding things in Francis’ 19 years, however, is a club called STORM team.

This club was started 15 years ago. “We were looking for a role modeling group for the school,” Francis said. “We had good kids doing good things and we just wanted to get it organized.”

The acronym stands for Students Teaching Others and Role Modeling. “That first group of kids came up with the name,” Francis explained. “It’s been STORM team ever since. I don’t know if people even know what it stands for anymore, but that acronym is exactly what we try to do. We want to be a positive influence on our school.”

The STORM team is actively involved with school events. The team goes to the elementary school for Red Ribbon Week each year. They break up into smaller groups and visit each classroom, giving a short anti-drug lesson. They also visit with the junior high, speaking about respect, bullying and how to treat others in general. Each spring they volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House and the food bank in Sioux Falls, S.D.

In addition, STORM team does a pre-prom activity about making good decisions. “It’s not always about the dangers of drinking and driving,” Francis said. “We talk about making good decisions in general — don’t ruin this night or any other night by making dumb decisions.”

The purpose of STORM team is to help kids help each other. “Kids react to other kids way better than they react to adults,” Francis said. “If high school kids are having problems, they don’t necessarily come to an adult first, they talk to their friends.”

Francis has learned that one of the best ways to help students is to teach them where to go when those problems arise.

STORM team is also a great benefit for the middle school and elementary school students. “The younger kids see these high schoolers play sports and do what they want to do. They look up to them,” Francis said. “When the older kids talk to them about the dangers of drugs, it holds a bigger impact than if other teachers or adults talk to them. We try to use that influence in a positive way.”

January is National Mentoring Month and people are encouraged to serve as a mentor in the community and to thank mentors for the work they do.