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High school senior explores her leadership potential

Dale Thompson, Of the Record staff
Kaleigh Nelson recently attended the National Student Leadership Conference at the University of Utah where she learned the tricks of giving a good speech and the importance of giving back to the community.
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It is summer vacation but Park City High School senior Kaleigh Nelson took the lead and returned to the classroom for a few days.

She recently attended the National Student Leadership Conference at the University of Utah. The event is hosted at different colleges throughout the nation, and a press release estimated that approximately 8,000 students participated this year.

The conference focuses on developing leadership skills through a variety of classes and workshops.

Nelson said her mother suggested the conference and after taking a closer look she decided it might be an interesting five days.

"I thought that it would be really good it seemed like something I was interested in doing. It sounded fun," she sad.

Among other things, the conference gave her some tips and tricks on public speaking.

"We went over the basics of how to give a speech and how to hook the audience," she said.

Nelson added one way to get the audience’s attention is to begin a speech with a question, having an enthusiastic tone is also critical to maintaining their interest.

She also walked away with a better appreciation for the importance of giving back to the community. One of her projects was to work with a group to discuss the logistics of a community service project, including funding and promotions.

"We came up with a house for kids who don’t know where to go, a place where they can come so they don’t get into drugs and alcohol," she said.

Her group from the conference is planning to meet later to discuss the possibility of actually putting their project in motion.

In addition to contributing to the community, Nelson discovered an important trait leaders should possess is a commitment, "to what you’re doing and you believe in what you’re doing."

Nelson said she admires people who are passionate about a cause, like those who raise awareness for orphans.

As she works toward her goal of becoming a veterinarian or working in the field of marine biology, Nelson said she can see how leadership skills will play a role in her future.

When working with animals Nelson used an example where calm authority can be useful.

"I can think of situations where someone brings in their animal and they are freaking out and you can calm someone down," she said.

Overall, Nelson said she enjoyed the conference and had a good time meeting the 60 other participants.

"Everyone got to know each other really well, it was nice," she said.


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