A “Day in the Life” of Northgate’s student leaders

“It has been a very humbling experience to work with high school students who want to do good things for each other and not always need a ‘thank-you’ for the title.” -Kourtnie Howerton, Student Leadership teacher 


Rally Commissioners and Northgate’s Leadership teacher celebrate a successful school rally. From left are Andrea O’Neill and Zach McKinney, junior rally commissioners, ASB/Leadership teacher Kourtnie Howerton, and senior rally commissioners, Sara Macumu and Dylan Giesecke.

Clare Kim, Staff Writer

While the majority of students are just waking or getting ready for school, a small group are already at school planning, organizing, painting, and advertising. These are members of Student Leadership, which meets at 7 a.m. during A period.

More than a class and not quite a club, these are the elected representatives of the four grade levels, the elected members of the schoolwide Associated Student Body (ASB) positions and the leadership members who plan events for the entire school and their grade levels, including fundraisers, themed spirit weeks, activities including Homecoming, Junior Prom, and Senior Ball.

“Over the last ten years as the leadership teacher, my students have impressed me with how much compassion they have for others,” said Leadership teacher Kourtnie Howerton. “They really want to make every student’s high school experience a fun and positive journey.” 

“Our students want to serve others, create drives, recognize students and staff and make others feel seen and important,” 

“Some assume leadership only makes posters and it is sometimes deflating to believe people think that,” Howerton said. “There are a lot of moving parts and behind-the-scenes management for every event, rally, spirit week or activity,” Howerton explained. These include working on “paperwork, budgets, approvals, getting outside vendors, planning fundraisers, emails and emails, and gathering chaperones” among other responsibilities.

Associated Student Body President Sabrina Woo, a senior, described the overall challenge of being in Leadership as “bearing the brunt of the student body’s judgment.” 

“When things go well credit is rarely given where it’s due but when there’s a mishap eyes swivel toward Leadership,” Woo said. “I can say though that when those difficult moments arise, the Northgate Leadership family is always supportive of each other and we bounce back quickly because of the camaraderie we work to build every day.” 

With little time to breathe throughout the day, the senior rally commissioner, grade level class presidents and Woo, the ASB president, shared their packed schedules with the Sentinel.

Here is a look into the days of five student leaders – senior Sara Macumu, freshman Jory Leach, sophomore Anusha Diyyalad, junior Prapti Pradhan and senior Sabrina Woo – on the same Tuesday in March:

Senior Rally Commissioner Sara Macumu 

  • 5:30 a.m. – Wake up and get ready, then eat breakfast
  • 6:50 a.m. – Leave house
  • 7:00 a.m. – Arrive at school and enter leadership classroom
  • 7:15 a.m. – Finish morning discussion
  • 7:20 a.m. – Find Rally Commissioners Dylan Giesecke, Andrea O’Neill, and Zach McKinney to plan school spirit days and make Canvas to advertise them on social media
  • 7:30 a.m. – Brainstorm ideas for a school rally, gather student input for what they want to see in rallies and how Bronco spirit can be boosted
  • 7:55 a.m. – AP Calculus AB
  • 8:54 a.m. – Physics Honors
  • 9:46 a.m. – Brunch
  • 10:03 a.m. – English IV
  • 11:02 a.m. – Strategic Support: Announce leadership spirit days on speakers to the school with rally commissioner Zach McKinney
  • 11:52 a.m. – Government/Economy
  • 12:44 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:24 p.m. – Dance Production (DP)
  • 2:30 p.m. – Get out of school and eat something
  • 3:00 p.m. – Work at Contra Costa Coffee featuring Ginger’s Gelato
  • 6:30 p.m. – Get off work and go home
  • 6:40 p.m. – Arrive home and do homework
  • 7:40 p.m. – Eat dinner and go back to homework
  • 8:00 p.m. – FaceTime other rally commissioners and go over rally details
  • 8:30 p.m. – Talk to friends and watch a show
  • 9:00 p.m. – Get spirit day outfit ready for the next morning; set alarm for 5:30 a.m. and go to bed
Freshman class president Jory Leach works on building materials in the Rotunda recently in March.

Freshman class President Jory Leach 

  • 5:45  a.m. – Wake up & snooze
  • 6:05 a.m. – Get out of bed and get ready for school: brush teeth, clean retainer, dress
  • 6:30 a.m. – Go downstairs, make lunch, put away homework from previous night
  • 6:55 a.m. – Arrive at school
  • 7:05 a.m. – Enter leadership classroom, morning discussion until 7:15 a.m.
  • 7:20 a.m. – Discuss new ideas with grade level for fundraisers to support the school
  • 7:30 a.m. – Build rotunda materials with other freshmen and clean the rotunda to keep it organized
  • 7:50 a.m. – Get out of leadership
  • 7:55 a.m. – Geometry
  • 8:54 a.m. – Biology
  • 9:46 a.m. – Brunch: eat cinnamon sticks outside with friends
  • 10:03 a.m. – German I
  • 11:02 a.m. – Strategic Support: “Get all of homework done”
  • 11:52 a.m. – P.E.
  • 12:44 p.m. – Lunch: eat outside and talk with friends then head over to choir room to rehearse for Musical America 
  • 1:24 p.m. – Choir: more rehearsing
  • 2:23 p.m. – English I
  • 3:15 p.m. – Get ready for tennis
  • 3:30 p.m. – Tennis practice
  • 5:15 p.m. – Bike home and do homework
  • 6:30 p.m. – Eat dinner
  • 7:00 p.m. – Go to the gym, exercise and talk to friends
  • 8:00 p.m. – Go home and get ready for bed
  • 10:00 p.m. – Set alarm for 5:45 a.m. and go to bed

Sophomore class President Anusha Diyyalad

Sophomore class president Anusha Diyyalad works with the Artistic Design Committee making posters to advertise for upcoming Panera fundraiser.
  • 6:00 a.m. – Wake up, take a shower, and get ready for school
  • 6:55 a.m. – Arrive at Northgate
  • 7:05 a.m. – Enter leadership classroom and participate in morning discussion
  • 7:15 a.m. –  Listen carefully to minutes meeting and understand where and how ASB’s money is being spent
  • 7:20 a.m. – Work with grade level to plan fundraisers/events 
  • 7:30 a.m. – Go to rotunda as a member of the AD (Artistic Design) committee to make posters for known upcoming events and hang them up
  • 7:40 a.m. – Talk to other grade levels about their upcoming events to advertise for them
  • 7:55 a.m. – Honors chemistry
  • 8:54 a.m. – AP Psychology
  • 9:46 a.m. – Brunch
  • 10:03 a.m. – Algebra 2/Trigonometry
  • 11:02 a.m. – Strategic Support: Study for Chemistry Honors quiz
  • 11:52 a.m. – AP World History
  • 12:44 p.m. – Lunch: Sell Northgate apparel to the student body for leadership at the forum 
  • 1:24 p.m. – Spanish III
  • 2:23 p.m. – English II
  • 3:45 p.m. – Track practice for 2 hours: Stretch, practice and work on techniques, encourage one another
  • 6:00 p.m. – Get home and take a shower
  • 6:30 p.m. – Do homework and study for weekly quizzes 
  • 7:15 p.m. – Eat dinner
  • 7:35 p.m. – Tutor students or give feedback to other tutors in the online tutoring organization called Silver (a non-profit international organization, in which the money goes to the less fortunate who have less educational opportunities)
  • 8:35 p.m. – Go back to homework and take 20 minute breaks to talk to friends
  • 10:00 p.m. – Make Canvas for known upcoming events and send them to the Leadership’s class GroupMe (group chatting platform for a large amount of people); tell them to repost on their social media to advertise for these events
  • 10:30 p.m. – Finish up homework
  • 11:00 p.m. – Get ready for bed and go to sleep

Junior class President Prapti Pradhan

Junior class president Prapti Pradhan, who is also the ASB president-elect for next year, fills out fundraiser forms for a class activity.
  • 5:45 a.m. – Wake up and get ready
  • 6:35 a.m. – Leave house
  • 7:00 a.m. – Get to school and enter leadership classroom
  • 7:15 a.m. – Finish up morning discussion
  • 7:20 a.m. – Continue planning upcoming events like the Color Run and Spring Egg Hunt as a member of the Fundraising/Events committee member
  • 7:35 a.m. – Fill out paperwork for Dine and Donate fundraisers, get them approved by Ms. Lillian (the school secretary/treasurer), and make sure they are included in the next Minutes Meeting
  • 7:45 a.m. – Practice speech and introduction to the student body as a running candidate for the 2022-2023 school year ASB election
  • 7:55 a.m. – AP Calculus AB
  • 8:54 a.m. – Spanish Honors
  • 9:46 a.m. – Brunch
  • 10:03 a.m. – AP Literature
  • 11:02 a.m. – Strategic Support: Work on calculus homework
  • 11:52 a.m. – Sociology
  • 12:44 p.m. – Lunch: bring leadership fundraiser forms up to the office
  • 1:24 p.m. – Physiology Honors
  • 2:23 p.m. – AP US History
  • 4:00 p.m. – Get home and eat a snack
  • 4:30 p.m. – Do homework (routinely start with Physio)
  • 6:30  p.m. – Continue planning the Walnut Creek Youth Commission’s meeting
  • 7:00 p.m. – Finish ASB election campaign posters and Canvas
  • 7:30 p.m. – Exercise at home
  • 7:50 p.m. – Eat dinner
  • 8:30 p.m. – Daily reading for AP Literature
  • 9:00 p.m. – Break: talk to friends
  • 9:30 p.m. – Take a shower and finish up anything that was not completed throughout the day and get ready for bed 
  • 10:30 p.m. – Set alarm for 5:45 a.m. and go to bed

ASB President Sabrina Woo

Senior Sabrina Woo, ASB President, works recently with the Leadership Service Committee on a fundraiser drive for Ukraine.
  • 6:00 a.m. – Wake up and get ready, then drive to school
  • 7:00 a.m. – Arrive to school and enter leadership class
  • 7:05 a.m. – Have students go through morning discussion
  • 7:20 a.m. – Organize leadership bonding activities/instructions
  • 7:25 a.m. – Help plan ASB election campaign and finish creating voting form
  • 7:35 a.m. – Go to the gym to help set up the Wellness Day assemblies
  • 7:55 a.m. – AP Psychology
  • 8:54 a.m. – AP Government/Economy
  • 9:46 a.m. – Brunch
  • 10:03 a.m. – Teacher’s Aid (TA): Work on future lessons for leadership and work out the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) club’s life membership Google Form/Spreadsheet to order stoles, etc. as co-president of CSF
  • 11:02 a.m. – Strategic Support: Finish up club responsibilities and check for emails from Senior Ball organizers
  • 11:52 a.m. – English IV: Work on Senior Project
  • 12:44 p.m. – Lunch: As Project Reach’s president, continue Drive to Ukraine work, which was started in Project Reach, then expanded to connect with Leadership’s Service Committee
  • 1:24 p.m. – Pre-calculus 
  • 2:23 p.m. – Advanced Sports Medicine
  • 3:15 p.m. – Cover facility and tape athletes until 5:30 p.m.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Cover boys volleyball game for 1 hour
  • 8 p.m. – Arrive home 
  • 8:15 p.m. – Eat dinner 
  • 8:30 p.m. – Do homework and email back and forth with Wellness Day’s speaker Dean Johnson on how to pay him; communicate as the go between of Northgate’s admin and Mr. Johnson’s team 
  • 11:15 p.m. – Set alarm for 6:00 a.m. and go to sleep

“It has been a very humbling experience to work with high school students who want to do good things for each other and not always need a ‘thank-you’ for the title,” Howerton added. “It has been a true honor to be able to create meaningful relationships with my students since we do spend a lot of time together and get to know one another on a deeper level. That means a lot to me, for them to even want to share personal things with me and let me into a part of their lives.”