Operation Snowball is back at WEGO


Photo by Leslie Fireman

Snowball advisor Christina Sladek wore snowflake earrings to the first leadership meeting on Oct. 17.

By Karidja Monjolo, Editor

For the first time since 2019, Operation Snowball is returning to West Chicago Community High School. The event will be held at Lorado Taft in Oregon, IL, the weekend of January 13-15.

Students and teachers gathered for the first Snowball meeting on Oct. 17 in advisor Christina Sladek’s room. (Photo by Leslie Fireman)

Snowball is a retreat program focused on mental health, as well as alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention education. Over the course of three days, students, who apply to attend, participate in a series of activities design to promote positivity, and give students a sense of self and empowerment.

“It creates opportunities for students to participate in open, confidential conversations in a safe environment while building character trust an leadership skills,” said science teacher Lisa Licari, who will serve as a staff leader for the program this year.

“The fact that the entire school can participate in the retreat in January allows lots of different people and ideas to be present and shared. People get to come together and talk about their experiences in life, the good and the bad. As a leader our goal is to get everyone to engage in the discussions and fun activities,” said junior Ben Kuehn, who will also take on a leadership position.

Other Snowball leaders were carefully handpicked; recommendations were required just to be considered for the application process, and those chosen must agree to remain alcohol/tobacco/drug-free in their commitment to being “good role models” in the school and surrounding community.

Throughout the first week of October, potential leaders submitted an application and interviewed for the position. Leaders were notified of the selection committee’s decision on Oct. 12, and include sophomores Addison Jeffery, Lauren Dusing, Isabella Colburn, and Zach Kreitzer; juniors Jake Sweeney, Anaitzel Huerta, Joselyn Figueroa, Arely Jacobo, Justin Nunez, Ben Kuehn, Licxy Barrera, Maizy Jury, and Ivan Romero; and seniors Isa Poulterer and TJ Tipton

Students participated in a number of games, including “Egg, Chicken, Dinosaur”, at the initial meeting. (Photo by Leslie Fireman)

For the next two months, Snowball leaders will meet every Monday to prepare for the retreat. They will also attend a training session Saturday, Dec. 3 to strengthen their skills.

“As of today you are a role model, not only in class, but also at events, games any school event. You are a role model for Snowball, you are representing Snowball,” said science teacher Christina Sladek, who advises the event, at the introductory meeting on Oct. 17.

“It’s a great opportunity to utilize my leadership skills at West Chicago to assist others,” said Jury.

Lorado Taft “offers a range of facilities that fit well with our current program. Buildings that can house both large and small groups as well as separate dorms for girls and boys. Most importantly, the beautiful, woodsy atmosphere along the Rock River helps students connect with their true selves while surrounded by nature in the winter,” said Sladek, who also explained that participating students will play games, bond with their peers, and stay up late throughout the three-day retreat.

Any students interested in attending Snowball are welcome to apply later this year.

“Positive impact is going to Snowball. After this retreat, we are bringing it back to the whole school,” said Sladek