September 27, 2010
Six local high school students - all participants in the Upward Bound program at Johnson State College - spent the weekend of September 25-26 attending the 2010 New England Student Leadership Conference in Fairlee, VT.
The students all completed a formal application process this past summer that included writing an essay on leadership and securing letters of recommendation from at least three of their peers. The students who were selected to attend the 2010 conference included: Samantha Hoeltge (BFA-St. Albans), Volicia Smith (Peoples Academy), Jessica Draper (Enosburg Falls High School), Emily Mulvihill (Mount Mansfield Union High School), and Chelsea Day and Stanley Blow (Missisquoi Valley Union High School). They were joined by 50 other students representing 14 programs from New England and upstate New York.
The annual conference provides workshops and hands-on activities aimed at building leadership skills. Jessica Draper enjoyed the challenge of the ropes course, noting that her goal for the weekend was "to do something adventurous, so when it came to the ropes course I gave my all and did my best."
Compromising and considering the "big picture" were skills students needed to successfully complete the "Eclipse Challenge" workshop, which gave students a firsthand look at how the U.S. budget is passed. "There was a lot of heated discussion, and everyone was very passionate about protecting their favorite budget items," said participant Chelsea Day.
"This conference gives students the opportunity to meet and develop lasting friendships with participants from a mix of rural and urban communities and backgrounds," said Tony Blueter, director of JSC's Upward Bound program. It was a sentiment shared by the students. As Volicia Smith put it, "I made many new friends, and I am sure by attending this weekend conference we now have six more leaders in our Upward Bound community."
Upward Bound is a federally funded program designed to assist first-generation and/or modest-income students with academic potential prepare for college. Currently the JSC program works with 90 students attending nine area high schools. For more information, contact Tony Blueter, director, at 802-635-1320.