DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Honors students at Richland Community College hosted a leadership seminar for 7th and 8th grade students from Montessori Academy of Peace on Monday.

The students were from Professor Deborah Yaden’s “Humanities 112: Leadership” class, and the theme of the seminar was “Zombie Apocalypse.”

Students from Yaden’s class spent about a month preparing for the seminar as part of their final assignment for the class. The students chose to go with a zombie theme because it “stuck the most” among several other choices, and and it helped encompass what they hoped to convey to the middle school students.

“It was a lot of planning and coordinating,” Latasha Stillwel, who is studying to get her associate’s degree in science with a focus in surgical technology, said during a group Zoom interview. “It was an amazing seminar and we worked very hard. It was definitely one of my favorite classes for sure.”

Monday’s seminar was broken up into three separate sessions with a focus on team building, making decisions and guiding through conflict; some of the activities included undoing a human knot, navigating a paper maze, building a marshmallow structure and other scenario-based games.

“They were really paying attention the entire time, and they really exceeded our expectations,” Hope Moore, who is majoring in biology with a focus in cellular and molecular biology, said of the middle school students.

While they were preparing for the seminar, Richland student frequently met up and texted with one another to effectively communicate their goals. But, during this process, Stillwel found that she indeed improved her leadership skills.

“I learned that I’m a leader, and I didn’t even know it,” Stillwel said. “It was definitely a growing experience.”

Moore also reiterated that despite her introverted personality, she was able to step outside of her comfort zone and grow as a leader during the class this semester.