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4th Annual High School Conference helps train the leaders of the future

In one room, shouts of laughter filled the air.  In another room, students brainstormed the effects of homelessness on teenagers.  In a small conference room, students danced and sang with one another as they learned about icebreaker activities.

Photo: Students attempt to untangle the “Human Knot” as a part of an icebreaker activity.

Photo: Students attempt to untangle the “Human Knot” as a part of an icebreaker activity.


Over 300 students serving as conflict managers and peer counselors, as well as students in unity programs, Students Reaching Out and other peer leader groups from Elk Grove Unified high schools joined together for a day of learning and sharing at the 4th Annual High School Conference held on February 7th at the Antioch Progressive Church in Sacramento.

This year’s conference theme was “We Have the Power To…Build A Bridge.”  The conference is unique because many student leaders actually facilitate the majority of the workshops and sessions.  Peer counselors from Elk Grove High School and Students Helping Students from Sheldon High School played a large role in the development and planning of the conference.

“Students who attended the conference are exposed to an environment which encourages them to open their minds to new ideas, express their own ideas, empowers and challenges them to work together to make a difference at their own schools,” said Tami Silvera, a positive youth development program implementer for the district. 

Students from nine high schools from throughout the district – including Elk Grove, Florin, Franklin, Laguna Creek, Pleasant Grove, Sheldon, Valley, William Daylor and Rio Cazadero – spent the day attending workshops and interacting with one another to develop their leadership skills.

The conference was paid for through monies provided by the district’s State Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) and Federal Safe and Drug Free Schools (SDFS) funds.

“The purpose of the conference is to give students who are in helping leadership roles at schools throughout the district an opportunity to network and gain skills and information related to teen issues,” said Leanne Ward, a teacher at Sheldon High School and co-coordinator of the conference.  “The conference workshops help provide the tools to empower the participants to feel more secure in their roles as leaders and role models at their own school.”

The day started off with a rousing address from keynote speaker Phil Boyte.  Boyte, a motivational speaker since 1983, spoke to students about preparing themselves to be able to be a leader – no matter what the situation.

Later, students had the opportunity to choose to attend four workshops from a variety of options throughout day.  Nineteen different workshops were offered, including: Becoming a Better Friend – Making the Connection; Breaking Down Stereotypes; Building the Bridge; Crackin’ Up, How to Break the Ice; End the Silence: Stop the Bullying; Genocide: The Past, The Present, The Future; Girl Talk; Guy Talk; Homelessness: Life In Transition; Make the Right Choice; Mirror Mirror on the Wall; Personalities; The Power of Words; Rumors and Cyber-Bullying; Silence the Violence! Increase the Peace!; A Transformed Life; True Colors; Unity Day; and Youth Speak Out. 

This year’s workshops were lead by students from Elk Grove, Franklin, Laguna Creek, Pleasant Grove and Sheldon high schools.  Adult guest presenters included Phil Benadum from the American Heart Association and Phillip Barna from Another Choice – Another Chance.

The day ended with a closing presentation by Boyte focusing on how the students in attendance could take what they learned back to others at their schools.

Spotlight Archives
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Jan. 16, 2008 - Laguna Creek High School hosts ConnectEd Policy Site Visit
Jan. 02, 2008 - Senior Attendance Drive returns for second year

Dec. 12, 2007 - John Ehrhardt Elementary students combine academics and community service
Dec. 03, 2007 - EGUSD’s Commitment to Service Learning Honored
Nov. 15, 2007 - Winners announced for No Excuses – Go to School Rhyme & Poster Contests
Nov. 13, 2007 - Veterans Day celebrated at Elk Grove Unified
Oct. 23, 2007 - Time of Remembrance Project and Website
Oct. 15, 2007 - Markofer Elementary offers “Donuts for Dads/Muffins for Moms"
Oct. 3, 2007 - EGUSD elementary schools participate in Walk to School Day
Sept. 18, 2007 - Options abound on new College and Career website

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