The Beatrice High School leadership class held its fourth-annual paper airplane contest after the Boys Basketball game on Friday evening.

Official airplane paper was sold for $1 during the evening with a $100 prize on the line for the first airplane landing inside the barrel. Dozens of other smaller prizes given by area donors were scattered on the gym floor and given away to the airplane owner landing closest to the items.

Philip Voigt and Connor Diehl won the $100 cash prize in the Paper Airplane Contest, but generously donated it to the Beatrice Special Olympics.

“It was the first time in four years an airplane actually landed in the barrel at center court,” said Joan Doyle-Workman, BHS leadership class teacher. “The paper airplane contest was an idea that I borrowed from my sister who is also a teacher. It’s a fun way to raise money and it’s always great to throw an airplane because you get to instead of being told you can’t.”

She added the contest has become an annual tradition at the school.

“I saw a need for the kids to learn some leadership skills through experiential learning when the leadership class was first developed five years ago,” Doyle-Workman said. “Anybody can be a leader and I tell them if they can influence someone else’s life, they are a leader.

“I work with students in 10-12 grade who have completed the application process for the Leadership Program. It’s a fun class and it’s great to see how their skills develop over time.”

Students in the leadership class go out into the community and ask for donations from business for the prizes.

“They plan the event and are learning skills in working with different people,” Doyle-Workman said. “It’s fun to see the kids’ skills develop through the class.”

Kayla Gaertig, a senior at Beatrice High School, has been involved with the Leadership Class for three years.

“I feel like the class has helped me embrace my leadership skills, develop more self-confidence, get involved with community and plan,” she said. “It’s helped me build character.

“Every year we identify an organization to give the profits of the paper airplane contest to and this year we chose Beatrice Special Olympics. It feels really good to give back to the community.”

Toni Reiman, Coordinator of Beatrice Special Olympics, said the organization is grateful for the students’ work.

“We really appreciate it,” Reiman said. “It makes a huge difference to be able to provide for the athletes. It all helps with meals when they go to competitions, equipment, uniforms. I’m so thankful that they thought of us.”

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