Twenty West Linn High School leadership students, chaperoned by four staff members, attended the Lead Conference on Feb. 14 in Chicago along with other students from schools from across the country as well as students from Honduras. It was the fourth year that our Leadership and Associated Student Body members have attended the conference.
“Great groups always go. There are always surprises on how people react to the conference,” Butch Self, Leadership adviser, said. “Our group had the specific focus to have a positive community when people walk into the doors.”
Although the first day was spent in airports and on airplanes, it gave the students a chance to get to know each other. It also gave the ASB students a chance to prepare for their two presentations on Mr and Mrs. West Linn and Survivor Week.
“I was excited. I thought it was a really good group.” Sarah McKay, freshman, said. The ASB group was already friends, but it really brought in Leadership 1.”
Each of the general sessions had a different keynote speaker or a movie. Ed Gerety, Motivational speaker, was the first speaker introduced who spoke about surrounding yourself with positive people and positive things.
On the second day of the conference, the students were shown a video about bullying and school violence, followed by breakout sessions on promoting school spirit. A movie on self-control capped the day.
The last day of the conference lasted two hours in the morning. The keynote speaker, Travis Brown, spoke to the leadership students about taking a stand against bullying. To close the conference, the staff showed all the students, advisers and chaperones a conference flashback, which included pictures of various students throughout the conference.
Many messages about being leaders were put out to the students. All the messages had individual and collective impressions on the students who went.
“I’ve seen people grow and change since we’ve got back, and for the positive,” Self said.
The conference ended on the morning of the Feb. 17. While some of the schools returned home, Leadership and ASB members stayed a couple more days to bond. The afternoon after the conference was spent in downtown Chicago, ice-skating in front of The Bean, a reflective monument in the middle of downtown. The next day was also spent downtown, sightseeing on Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier.
After four days of bonding with classmates, meeting new people and attending a conference, the leadership students and staff chaperones returned home on Feb. 19. The flight back was spent reviewing everything that the students learned.
“Ed Gerety was my favorite speaker because he connected with the crowd of kids and kept it lively and interesting. He put a lot of feeling into what he said,” Skye Gates-Walker, freshman, said.
On March 12, the school had an assembly with one of the keynote speakers from the conference. Ed Gerety spoke about bullying and having a more positive life. Following the assembly was leadership training for the leaders of school clubs.