The Student News Site of Conestoga High School



BOLT club remembers founding members


By Julia Harris and Kate Phillips, Staff Reporters

In 2015, when Conestoga’s current seniors were in eighth grade, a few of them had a big idea: they wanted to start a club called Building Our Lives Together (BOLT) that would spread helpful acts of kindness around Tredyffrin/Easttown Middle School.  Five years later, the club is still going strong. 

Art teacher Vicki Turner taught the eighth grade Creativity Initiative class in 2015, which is a period where students partake in different projects and activities that require them to be creative. Turner was often late arriving to the class because she supervised fifth grade activity beforehand. Often, she had to stay and help the new fifth graders find their way to their classes, so the eighth graders waiting outside of Turner’s classroom for their Creativity Initiative had the idea to start a club to help younger students around the school. 

What makes BOLT unique is its lack of requirements for membership. Turner and the students both knew that the Peer Mediators could help students find their way and did helpful acts throughout the school, but the kids in her Creativity Initiative still wanted to help without needing to undergo a selective process to be a part of the club. 

“A lot of the students were saying that they wanted to be Peer Mediators or they wanted to be in the Student Council, but they weren’t elected, and so the club started from a need and from a discussion about do you have to be chosen to be helpful?” Turner said.

Building memories: The 16 original BOLT club members gather for a photo. The members, who are now seniors, first created the club to spread helpful acts of kindness around Tredyffrin/Easttown Middle School.

Turner and the students invited Andy Phillips, the principal of T/E Middle School, to hear the club proposal. After a series of meetings and problem-solving, BOLTs was officially formed.

Erika Himes, a health teacher at T/E Middle, had a homeroom next door to Turner and became interested in the club, deciding that she wanted to become its second adviser. 

“I just wanted to find ways to get to know students better. One of the things that I really like about this club is that it helps the kids feel like they are contributing to the world, and that turns into feeling good about themselves,” Himes said. 

Bold leaders: BOLT advisers Erika Himes, Patrick Humbert and Vicki Turner (left to right) meet outside the art rooms.

Right away, the “BOLT Council” began meeting once a week in Turner’s room, where the BOLTs would often stay to eat lunch and talk.

         BOLT activities included helping new kids get acclimated to the school, decorating birthday lockers and singing for kids who did not have anyone else to do it for them, cleaning up and painting around the school, making holiday gifts for staff who often went unnoticed, putting nice notes in the locker of somebody who doesn’t have many friends or support, setting up a BOLT box in the main office for teachers to suggest jobs for the BOLTs to do, and other kind deeds for kids around the building. 

The students who joined the BOLTs often did so out of kindness and a need to simply give back. Senior Andrew Ward, an early BOLT member and one of the founders of the club, explains the atmosphere of the club. 

“I think BOLTs was really special because not many people in the school really knew about BOLTs, so the members weren’t really doing it to be known, they were just doing it because they wanted to make a change in the school,” Ward said. 

Both Turner and Himes believe that organizations like the BOLT club are an extremely important aspect of a well-built school and community. The newest adviser of the club, art teacher Patrick Humbert, explains the significance of the BOLTs. 

“Any community could honestly use a BOLT program to help beautify their community,” Humbert said.

As for its legacy at T/E Middle, the BOLTs club has left a meaningful impact and will continue in the future. 

“It was a great bonding experience between every member. It was a great way to feel like you were making a change in the school. I still think it will continue because there’s always going to be things that need to be done at T/E Middle that people will still be wanting to do, and with Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Himes, they keep it going,” Ward said.  

Julia Harris can be reached at [email protected].

Kate Phillips can be reached [email protected].

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