October 20th, 2020

Students get lesson in leadership

By Kalinowski, Tim on November 14, 2019.

Students and teachers interact as they listen during the keynote presentation from speaker Phil Boyte as part of the Southern Alberta Student Leadership Conference Wednesday at the University of Lethbridge. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald


The Southern Alberta Professional Development Consortium (SAPDC) in partnership with the Palliser Regional School Division presented its second annual Southern Alberta Student Leadership Conference at the University of Lethbridge’s 1st Choice Centre for Sport and Wellness on Wednesday.

Over 600 students from across the region came together to be inspired to make a difference in their schools and their communities.

“Every single person in the world needs to begin by better being able to lead themselves,” explained the events co-organizer Rick Gilson of the SAPDC. “We have students here who have an interest in being leaders, and we certainly have a society that needs leaders who are really well-centred. As a region, our local school districts felt we should try to have a regional student leadership conference that can impact the entire south.”

The theme of the event was “Look Outside Ourselves – Act Inside Our Circle of Influence.” It’s a message which was delivered by keynote speaker Phil Boyte, and then driven home in peer-led breakout sessions throughout the rest of the day. A key reading referenced in those breakout sessions was the life lessons found in the book “Make Your Bed” by retired Admiral William McRaven, a former commander of the U.S. Navy Seals, based on his viral convocation address to the University of Texas grads in 2014.

“That talk provided 10 quick lessons that he learned through his Navy Seal training that can apply to personal life,” explained Gilson. “So in our break-out sessions today, we have student-led groups peer-teaching on one of those 10 lessons.”

Gilson said what he hoped students took away from the conference was a passion to inspire and lead in their home schools and communities.

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