STAR Club teaches leadership skills at Westfield High School


Westfield High School students interested in learning about the military have a new club to join. But the group isn’t only for those looking to enlist after graduation.

This academic year, the high school started Students Taking Active Roles, or STAR Club. The club is a leadership and character development program developed for teens by the United States Army.

Westfield Washington School District Communications Coordinator MaryEdith Malin is the club’s sponsor. She said the program is modeled after Junior ROTC, where students are taught life skills, leadership and responsible citizenship that adheres to the Army’s doctrine of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

“It’s a joint partnership,” Malin said. “They have someone come here twice a month. They go through a list of leadership activities, first aid, something that is applicable to all kids, so it’s not really just military related.”

Although the club is presented by the Army, it isn’t a recruitment tool.

“In this area, since there are not a lot of (military) bases, there is not a lot of knowledge,” Malin said. “I think a lot of students think they would go into the military if it was their last option. But there is a lot more to it, a lot of career options that we can hopefully introduce them to.”

The partnership between the high school and the Army helps leverage expertise and resources of soldiers to assist students in developing critical life skills. The Army provides the programming as well as the funding. Club members learn about chain of command, conflict resolution, personal finance, first aid, public speaking, problem solving, team building, disaster preparedness, and career exploration, as well as military history. The students also participate in a community service project.

STAR Club currently meets twice a month, but Malin said the goal is to expand meeting times as the club grows.

Students interested in joining the club or parents who have questions can contact Malin at [email protected].