Student leaders make plans for conference

As part of the Adirondack Scholars, an initiative launched by Foundation for Excellent Schools (FES), students met for a student leadership workshop on recently. At the conference, which was held at Westport Central School, students made plans for a student leadership summit. The summit, which will host more than 100 fifth through ninth grade students from nearly 20 area schools on April 19. The Wild Center Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, in Tupper Lake, has donated use of its facility for the summit. Scholars in FES programs participate in five core practices, mentoring, goal setting, pathways to college, families as partners, and leadership through service. Because events such as the summit planning session are student-driven, students actively develop their capacity for leadership and leadership skills. Willsboro student Olivia Kelly said she hoped to take ideas back from the summit that could benefit her school. By talking to students from other schools, she hoped to get ideas on programs that worked. Annie Murphy of Plattsburgh High School was focused on the mentorship issues. While Plattsburgh has a mentoring program, she hoped to make the program more efficient. The more youre involved in school, the more likely you are to care, said Murphy. Carrie Bishop, an eighth grader from Ticonderoga, thought college exploration was an important issue. She hoped the summit would offer a chance for students perspective on getting into a good school. At the seminar, the planners decided that panels on communications, mentoring and family engagement would be student-led. The students outlined how they would like the college preparation session to run but decided not to be the presenters. Instead, they drafted a letter to invite representatives from different colleges to serve on the panel. They also decided to have FES staff offer a workshop on goal-setting, with the emphasis on training those who participate in the session to not only learn how to effectively set goals but to train others at their school. Students participating in the workshop were Cody Whitney and Like Andrews of Keene Central School, Garrett Foutch and Kayla Sandford of Wells Central School, William Gay and Olivia Kelly of Willsboro Central School, Margaret Dages and Matt Peterson of Bolton Central School, Alexa Cyphers and Franny Brace of Moriah Central School, Nqozi Eweheonu and Annie Murphy of Plattsburgh High School, Amanda Agoney and Debra Knapp of Northern Adirondack Central School, Colin MacIver and Sarah Gibbs of Westport Central School and Carrie Bishop and Brittney Lynch of Ticonderoga Middle School. The goal of student leadership is to help students develop their capabilities to be leaders, and not be told what to do by adults, said Adirondack Scholars Program Director Andrea McDonald. McDonald said the planning process was as important as the actual summit. FES is a national nonprofit organization that has helped more than 140,000 underserved students in 25 states take steps to access and succeed in college.

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