In January, the Centennial Center for Leadership will host the much anticipated Leadership Institute, open to students with all levels of leadership experience. Although the conference has been held in the past, this year marks a milestone in the program’s development as it incorporates local high schools into the programming.
Joining the Leadership Institute will be students from Geneva High School and DeSales High School who seek to learn valuable skills that will help to guide them through college and beyond. Of the 81 participants in the conference, 24 will be high school students.
“This is really going to elevate the program,” says Leadership Fellow Jerry Wohletz. “High school students have a different experience, perspective than our college students, and that will increase the diversity of the conversations, changing the conference for the better.”
Through an application process, local students at each of the schools were encouraged by staff and faculty members to submit essay applications to the Institute. Prominent among the outreach effort was Geneva High School counselor Tim McSweeney and DeSales Principal Gerald Macaluso, who urged students to participate, and Mary Herlihy Gearan, who spoke with students in Interact about the importance of leadership and service.
The two-and-a-half-day conference, which runs Saturday, Jan. 14 through Monday, Jan 16, will include more than 30 speakers and interactive workshops. Each day will allow students to address different aspects of leadership through discussion and workshops, where participants will gather the skills necessary to communicate, transform ideas into actions and lead effectively.
“I think it’s good for high school students to have older students to connect with, to have as resources. Our students really have something great to offer,” remarks Wohletz. “However, this conference is not about being an HWS student – or a high school student. We are learning about what leadership means together.”
In addition, the conference will strengthen the bond between the Colleges and the Geneva community. “It has been our goal to connect with the community, and we saw this as a wonderful opportunity to create that partnership,” says Wohletz. “This will add tremendous value to the program. This is the beginning of a great collaboration.”
In the photo above, Jerry Wohletz meets with Caitlyn D’Agati ’15 to discuss the Leadership Conference.