Last weekend three St. Michael student council representatives attended the Leadership Experience and Development (LEAD) Conference in Chicago, IL.
LEAD Conferences offer experiential leadership skills development to students and advisers and are a program of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), which also administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, and National Student Council.
St. Michael students attended workshops on improving leadership skills, problem solving, project planning, fundraising, team building, idea sharing, and networking.
SMHS Director of Student Activities, Jackie Berthelot, says that these conferences are important for students because they create contagious excitement. “There were over 1,000 students from all around the world at the conference. When a teenager meets another teenager who is excited to enact change, show their leadership, and make a difference, it excites them as well. The energy that happens at conferences like this is explosive and it catches on. One cannot attend something like this and not get excited to go back to their school and make an impact,” she shares.
LEAD Conferences are held three times each school year and are growing in popularity in the U.S. and abroad. Attendance at each conference includes representation from an average of 23 states. In recent years, the LEAD Conferences have also attracted a more global audience with student delegations coming from a variety of countries that have included Bermuda, Mexico, Virgin Islands, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. The attendance by these groups has enriched the conference experience for all attendees and provided a unique, multicultural networking opportunity for student leaders who discover their similar goals to improve their schools and communities through their leadership activities.
“Our students attend conferences such as this because it gives them the opportunity and tools to develop their leadership skills and make a difference in their schools, community, and the world. This is how these students become our leaders of tomorrow,” Jackie mentions.
Junior, Morgyn Gauthier attended the conference and said the best part of the event was not only meeting new people but also learning new ideas and skills that you can share with your school. “I learned a lot about how to better myself as a person and a leader and how to spread that goodness to other people and my school. I think it is important to attend a conference like this as a high school student because the earlier you learn these skills, the more you can practice them.”
Other St. Michael students who attended were juniors Ben Messina and Abby Button.