C.L.A.S.S. Speakers-Allan Kauffman, Sam Grewe

On Monday and Tuesday, GCS elementary students participated in C.L.A.S.S. (Connecting Learning Assures Successful Students) training to learn more about the Skills of a Leader. According to the C.L.A.S.S. website, the Skills of a Leader Summit provided students the opportunity to:

  • Engage with business community leaders in lessons on leadership and essential workforce skills needed in becoming a successful citizen and community leader.
  •  Gain problem solving strategies; communication techniques; and methods in building positive relationships.
  •  Analyze their leadership skills and the progress they are making in leadership development within the context of school, home, and with their peers.
  •  Communicate with family members, school personnel, and distinguished members of the community about their leadership development during a special presentation hosted at Parkside on Tuesday night.
  •  Visit businesses to explore their mission in serving the community and the leadership skills needed to be successful.

Overall, the training was developed to help students understand and apply the following skills: Communication skills, social skills, work ethic, problem solving, teamwork, cooperation, self-control, perseverance, passion, and integrity.

As part of the training, the students heard from various leaders in our community. On Monday afternoon, they heard from two people; former Goshen mayor Allan Kauffman and Paralympic athlete Sam Grewe .

Mayor Kauffman talked to the students about what it was like to be the mayor of Goshen, the types of job responsibilities he had, the things he learned by traveling Indiana to observe other cities, the people he met, and the best and worst parts of his job. He noted that one of the most important things about being the mayor, or being a leader in general, is building relationships with people. For him as mayor, it was essential to relate well with the city employees, the city council, and most importantly, the people of Goshen.

Thank you, Mayor Kauffman, for giving students a glimpse of how a city functions and for encouraging them to learn the skill of relationship-building, for wherever they may live and work in the future.

The students also heard from Sam Grewe from Middlebury. He spoke to the students about staying positive, having a “growth mindset”,  and realizing that even when you think your circumstances are tough, there is usually someone going through something even more difficult. He played the video in the link below, which tells his story:

Following the video, Sam told them more about his experiences; in the hospital, with the Notre Dame football team, and in the Paralympics. Throughout his presentation, he allowed the students to pass around his Olympic medal. At the end, he let the students ask questions, all the while speaking to them with a poise and kindness that belied his youth.


The words on the picture below are: “Four years ago, I was going through cancer treatment and getting my leg amputated. This medal is for all those kids out there who are going through something similar”. Sam Grewe

Thank you, Sam, for speaking to and encouraging some of Goshen’s future leaders. The students, as well as the adults in attendance, were impressed by you and inspired by your story.