A few weeks ago the school down the street from ours--a private, Catholic school--our arch-est and bitterest rival, launched a weather balloon with a camera and some electronics. The balloon made it up to 86,000 feet before it burst, and the equipment was found 50 miles away in the mountains.
One of our students decided we could do better, and more cheaply. In a couple weeks River Rat 1 (OK, I just made up the name, but that's what it should be called) will launch. I asked the student in charge about it today, and he said that he's taking care of the planning and purchasing and fundraising--he's leaving the science to "the MIT guys", two of our students who are off to MIT in a few months. Ours will go higher, stay aloft longer, and travel farther, than the other school's Fallen Angel (OK, I made that name up, too, but it's totally appropriate), and will do so for less money. Fallen Angel cost $750, the exact tally for River Rat 1 isn't in yet.
Last Friday the student in charge was called out of my class down to the office. The slip had an interesting destination on it--the principal or his secretary. When the student returned to class he was holding an envelope. In the envelope was a personal check for $200 from our new superintendent, whom the student had solicited for funds days earlier.
That's leadership. That's class.