Showing leadership skills

Johnson addresses GAHS students

By Dean Wright -

Congressman Bill Johnson addresses Gallia Academy High School students.

Congressman Bill Johnson addresses Gallia Academy High School students.

Dean Wright | OVP

CENTENARY — U.S. Congressman of Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District Bill Johnson (R — Marietta) partnered with Gallia Academy High School on Wednesday for a student leadership seminar with chosen students to discuss the importance of leadership and inspiration.

“We call it our Leadership Team,” said Principal Josh Donley. “We try to be as widespread as far as getting students from different groups and organizations to be involved. We’ve got a lot of great kids. We’ve (Donley and Gallipolis City Schools Athletic Director Adam Clark) dabbled in things like this in the past but never like this before. There are some things we’ve done with our staff that we’ve talked about using different podcasts, different leadership ideas, different mindsets. What is your mindset? You know, the way you impact other people. We shared that over the summer and wanted to instill that this year.”

Wednesdays at GAHS are considered “ICU Days” said Donley. The acronym borrows from the medical term “intensive care unit” and is utilized by the school for students who are behind in their academic studies to be further guided in their coursework. However, students who are meeting academic requirements may be able to utilize the time for student organization activities or have some free time. Those chosen for the Leadership Team are anticipated to be exposed to new ideas, community leaders and speakers as the school will continue holding leadership series talks in partnership with Johnson.

“We want to get them back with their peers and hopefully see some of these ideas rub off in the student body,” said Donley.

“I love these exchanges,” said Johnson. “I’ve got four kids and six grand-kids ranging from 43 to 15. You guys have no idea, I suspect, how important you are to me and to our country. You go to school every day and you study history and know that life is life. You’ll go off one day and pursue your dream and ambitions, but you’re leaders. The question is what kind of a leader will you be? Our nation is not like other nations throughout the world. We are unique…”

When asked what was the single greatest influence in his life was to achieve his accomplishments, Johnson credited his mother for always being a staunch supporter of his. He shared his career path to serving as a U.S. congressman.

“We’ve gone through many redefinition phases in America,” said Johnson. “Whether when we said no, we don’t want to be part of a monarchy or we were going through the Civil War, every so often we change. And we’re moving there ever faster than before. Do you know why? This.”

Johnson gestured to his smartphone.

“We’re changing with the digital age and you will be our future,” he continued. “You’re going to have a different set of challenges then what I had, but you’ll still have the responsibility to keep it together. We’re depending on you guys. One of these days, I’ll walk out of my office and I’ll not come back. It will be your time to take the reigns of the future then…”

Johnson shared that he would potentially come back to GAHS at the end of the year, once students had gone through their leadership sessions and visitors to see what it is they learned and thought of the experience.

Dean Wright said 740-446-2342.

Congressman Bill Johnson addresses Gallia Academy High School students. Bill Johnson addresses Gallia Academy High School students. Dean Wright | OVP
Johnson addresses GAHS students

By Dean Wright