Teaching Our Next Leaders
Southgate Secondary School
Campbell River, British Columbia

By Shauna (grade 12)

On May 3, 1996, I enjoyed an opportunity which came to me as a result of an interest in student leadership and wanting to make an impact on a group of students. Being in grade eleven, I feel more of a need now to share the knowledge that my leadership advisors have given me and that I have acquired through going to various leadership conferences. I feel that because I am a student, I may be able to impress upon other students the value of leadership in the school system more so than an adult might be able to.

In mid-April, my advisor informed me of an upcoming student leadership conference being held on May third in Port Alberni, B.C. The conference would be attended by all the eighth grade students of A.W. Neill Junior Secondary School. My advisor told me that the principal of A.W Neill, Russel McLaughlin, was looking for stndents to present workshops on various topics including team building, time Management, self awareness, stess and trust. I jumped at this opportunity. I had been waiting for a chance to somehow make a difference and now it was right before me.

I set to work gathering information for possible workshops and soon narrowed the possibilities down. I decided to present a workshop entitled "Discovering Your Best Self" which allowed students to explore their learning styles and to brainstorm with them about possible areas that they may be able to apply and use this information within their school. After deciding on a format for my workshop, I approached a grade eight teacher in my school about possibly presenting my workshop to one of her classes. I wanted to practice my workshop and to get feedback about the positive and negative aspects of it from her class. She assured me that this was okay and that I could present the following week. I was very nervous when I presented but I knew that by practicing it, I could iron out any problems in my workshop. I got lots of positive feedback from the students and began to feel more prepared to present my workshop in Port Alberni.

When I got to Port Alberni, I couldn't believe the amount of energy, both positive and negative, the the grade eights had. I was completely psyched to present my workshop. I presented four workshops that day and I became more confident with each one. I got to see the difference between presenting to quite a large group (15-20 kids) and presenting to a small group (5-8 kids). Nearly all the students were eager to learn and to participate. I dealt with some problem kids, but for me this was just part of my learning. When it was time to leave, the students gave all the presenters gifts and thanked us. You cannot imagine the intensity of the energy there was that day, nor can you imagine what an incredable rush it is to know that you are impacting the lives of others in such a positive, constructive way. I am so happy that this opportunity was given to me because I feel that doors have now been opened for me. I realize now that I enjoy working with kids in this way and I know that if I was given an opportunity like this again, I would accept it without a moments thought. Attenting and presenting a workshop at the grade eight leadership conference in Port Albernii was one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences that I've had this year in Leadership.

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