Juniors Attend Student Leadership Conference

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, There's a Leader In Us All," "Unleashing Your Inner Yoda," and "Behind Every Face is a Story." These were just some of the breakout sessions high school students, including five from CJ, could attend at the Wilks High School Leadership Conference at Miami University on Friday, April 15.

"It was a great seminar and the students really enjoyed being on Miami's campus," said teacher and junior student council moderator Erin Ketch. "We were able to meet students from other schools who had been identified as leaders and had some good conversations about what we can do to influence others in our school environments in a positive way."

Five members from the junior student council, Yasmin Espino, Brianna Gavin, Sarah Hartley, Sarah Kroger and Caroline Weiler also attended the conference.

"My favorite part about the Leadership Conference was that we were able to break out of our comfort zones, learn about other people and topics, and become inspired," shared Gavin. "I enjoyed listening to the speakers and what they had to say, and I believe that things I learned both about myself and about how I can lead the community will be able to make Chaminade Julienne an even better place to be."

Other schools attending the conference from the Dayton and Cincinnati areas included Alter, Carroll, Walnut Hills, Taylor, Cincinnati Hills Christian, Monroe, and Kings.

"My favorite part of the Leadership Conference was meeting and befriending teenagers all over the Dayton, Cincinnati, and Oxford area," noted Espino.

Weiler agreed, "I enjoyed meeting new people from a wide variety of different schools and doing the various leadership activities!"

At the conference, each student chose a "color" track with activities and talks that had a focus on specific leadership qualities. 

"During one of the speaker's presentations, the leader spoke about how he had struggled with his identity in relation to who others wanted him to be," Gavin explained. "This resonated with me because I, like many teenagers, struggle with identity. Through his speech, I learned that you cannot just sit there and expect people to understand you unless you give them the opportunity to get to know you. I learned that even though people struggle, everyone out there can become an 'anchor' for you.

"As juniors, we're picking out colleges and taking the ACT and it's a lot," Gavin continued. "Everything can become overwhelming very quickly, but anything is possible with the help of a trusted friend or mentor. I just want people at CJ to understand that it's normal not to know who you are or who you want to be."

After lunch, all conference attendees came back together for a final seminar and activity. They also wrote down leadership goals and had a group discussion on what it means to be a leader.

"I believe that it was important for me and the others to attend the conference to better our school and bring awareness to common issues that may go unnoticed in the school environment," Espino reflected.

Weiler added, "I learned to make sure everyone's opinions are heard and to always keep other's ideas in consideration."

"We came back with some great ideas on how to help others become leaders even if they don't self-identify that way," Ketch said. "We also came back with some ideas of how we can make Student Council even stronger."

Posted April 22, 2016