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Students learn to lead

According to Katherine Hetzel, a leader is somebody who is intelligent, a good decision maker, and keeps the interests of others in mind. Hetzel is a seventh grader at Ecker Hill International Middle School (EHIMS).

Another Ecker Hill seventh grader, Samantha Swain, said she thinks a leader is someone who stands up for what he or she believes in. Both girls were nominated to participate in a leadership conference this week in Washington D.C. The two are taking part in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference along with more than 250 other middle schoolers from around the country. The conference is going on all this week.

The two will get the chance to attend presentations, meet with elected officials and Congressional staff, and visit historical sites. Both were nominated by their social studies teacher, Guy Sanderson, last year. Swain and Hetzel said they think they were nominated because they get good grades.

According to Sanderson, a self-described, hard-to-impress, retired Army Officer, he nominates students who are socially mature and have excelled academically. Sanderson said that the type of students he looks for could succeed at the high school level, even as sixth-graders.

Swain and Hetzel are both return visitors to the capital city. They said that they’re a little nervous, but look forward to the chance to make friends with students from around the country.

Swain explained that her teachers are proud of her for being nominated, but that doesn’t mean that she’ll be getting out of any homework. Hetzel thinks she might want to work on Wall Street when she grows up, and Swain said she wants to be a veterinarian.

When Hetzel and Swain return, they will be in good company with other Park City students who have recently returned from either statewide or national leadership events.

Another Ecker Hill student, Charlie Halsey, recently returned from a People to People conference sponsored by the Eisenhower Foundation. He was also nominated by Sanderson.

Gabriel Campbell and Kelsey Reynolds, juniors at Park City High School, attended a leadership conference in May sponsored by the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Foundation (HOBY). The conference was held outside of Provo in Aspen Grove, Ut. The weekend-long event brought together 150 to 200 sophomores from all over Utah, Campbell explained.

One of the most memorable exercises for Campbell was a trust activity, where they were blindfolded and led through the forest by a partner.

The HOBY conference gave students the opportunity to listen to panels of community groups, who spoke about leadership in their respective industries, said Campbell. A religious panel, business panel, media panel, and others spoke with the students. The message presented by the business panel, according to Campbell, was about ethics and hard work. He said the panel encouraged students not to lie, steal, or exploit others, and to run a business in a way that, if all your actions were exposed, there wouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of.

Campbell offered advice to other students who are given the opportunity to participate in similar events. "Keep your eyes and ears open, and take good notes," he said.

Campbell and Reynolds were selected by the Park City Women’s Athenaeum Club, which was started by miners’ wives in 1896. The club was given a list of nominees, who were interviewed by the club before two winners were selected. Linda Simmons of the Women’s Athenaeum said that all of the applicants listed a long string of accomplishments, making their decision very difficult.

Sanderson said that he encourages students to take advantage of chances like these because they’re, "great opportunities for our young potential leaders to expand their abilities." He stressed how important it is for students to get out of the classroom to learn, and added that he wishes all his students could go to some kind of student conference.


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