The inaugural Student Leadership Conference was held February 21 on the Georgia Tech Savannah campus. 10 students from each high school and one Grade 8 student representative from each middle and K8 school came together to listen and learn from leaders throughout the Coastal Empire. The theme for the day long conference aligned with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System strategic Plan, The Way Forward. "Serve With Pride, Lead With Confidence, Inspire to Impact Lives" gave students the opportunity to see how each characteristic contributes to overall success. Students attended sessions on leadership, advocacy and community service. Outdoor team building activities and games enhanced the experience and provided a strong foundation for student voice, inclusion and collaboration with their peers. It was a beautiful day to enjoy a healthy lunch outside, while enjoying the sounds of CJ the DJ and getting to know other student leaders from around the district.
Presenters included Director Michael G. Sarhatt, Director of the Savannah-Chatham County Counter Narcotics Team (CNT); Ro Patrick, Sr. Vice President/Group Campaign Director for the Ad Council; and Sherlisa Praylo, Director of Restorative Practices and Community Outreach at The Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire. LeAndrea Mikell, executive director for Government and Community Engagement, delivered the Keynote Address and reminded the young scholars that their lives are shaped by the people they encounter, and those with whom they build relationships. Mikell urged the students to make connections with people they want to emulate, and to listen - because opportunity sometimes doesn't knock as loudly as the naysayers in your life.
Young Adult Panel Leaders and Facilitors included Isaiah Jobe-Winn, Darcy Kelley, Sophia Lee, Ramanujan Rajiv, Austin Rojas, Kassie Colon, Sade Campbell, Alexander Richardson, Christian Shellman, and Harold Taylor.
Three round robin sessions were conducted by three different service agencies. The Deep Center helped students explore their individual interests, strenghts, and values as well as those of their peers, to identify what themes emerge and consider what the similarities and diffferences mean. StepUp Savannah engaged learners in the diversity of thought, action and cultural groups in our community, and urged them to challenge injustice and to step up to create a more economically inclusive community. Nichole Murray, Southeat Education Director of the Anti-Defamation Leage Southeast, presented No Place for Hate. No Place For Hate is a grant funded school climate project for P-12 schools to build inclusive and safe communities. This student-led initiative promotes inclusivity and bullying prevention.
Students shared their impressions about the conference, giving it high marks for organization, theme, and interest areas. "I liked learning about how to help others in my community," said one student. "I didn't realize how hard it is for some people just to get to work and provide for their families," said another after attending the session conducted by StepUp Savannah. Still another praised the interactive nature of the event. "It was a busy day and we all had fun! It kept my attention all day. Suddenly, it was time to go back to my school!"
SCCPSS would like to thank all those who made this event possible.
See photos from the event here.