Just as world leaders commune at the nation capital to converse hot topics,West Linn High School leadership students joined many other learners in Washington, D.C. for a series of general and breakout sessions on leadership. The convention, the National Association of Student Councils Conference, was held from Friday, Jan. 30 to Tuesday, Feb.2.
WLHS has attended this conference for five years. In the past, leadership students have presented WLHS’s “Survivor,” a week-long event adapted from a Columbia Broadcasting System reality show. At the conference, several keynote speakers and high school students themselves presented their ideas and catalyzed leadership-oriented thinking.
“They’re all really, really nice people,” Mara Weeks, sophomore, said. “You have to break out of your comfort zone because it’s not every day where you’re meeting a bunch of new people.”
WLHS students arrived on Thursday and toured the White House on Friday morning. After the tour, students attended the first “general session” of the conference, which included a few speakers, then on Saturday students showed at a variety of breakout sessions. Finally, on Sunday, students were served a breakfast and witnessed another motivational presentation.
Thereafter, students and chaperones toured Washington, D.C., visiting the Smithsonian museums, the Archives and the monuments. The monuments were viewed during a three-hour session lasting from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
The night tour was funded by the school and admission fees to the conference were covered by the Associated Student Body. Flight, hotel and food fees were covered by individual students.
Attendance of the NASC Conference requires an invitation by NASC, which WLHS has constantly received. Normally, WLHS attends a conference in Chicago, Ill. According to Butch Self, leadership teacher, these conferences do not differ significantly.
“Their structure is the same,” Self said. “What’s different about it is the group of kids that goes. Even though there are different speakers, different ideas and different things, the concept is the same.”
It is expected that WLHS leadership students will attend the conference next year. For a student to travel to the conference, he or she must be enrolled in or have made a future commitment to a leadership class. All grade levels are permitted on the conference. Returning leadership students are enthusiastic about the conference and encourage any leadership students to attend.
“Even though we come from all different places, we can still connect, come up with ideas and help each other through,” Kaylee Combs, junior, said. “It inspires you to be a better person. Just seeing the history of the country, where we came from and how we are today is amazing.”