May 30th, 2024

Future leaders: Local students develop leadership skills at day-long conference

By BRENDAN MILLER on May 2, 2024.

Crescent Heights High School leadership students Jazmin Malmgren and Samual Collins give a cheer during a leadership conference with more than 70 students participating for all three school divisions Wednesday.--NEWS PHOTO BRENDAN MILLER

Student leaders and teacher advisers striving to make school a better place to learn were invited to a day-long leadership conference hosted by Crescent Heights High School on Wednesday.

The importance of resilience, teamwork and communication skills in high school students was emphasized at the Horizons Medicine Hat conference, aimed to inspire and motivate young adults by teaching leadership skills through workshops, and featuring two keynote speakers, Ian Tyson and Ash Baer.

Tyson is known to been an entertaining public speaker with more than 30 years experience and has spoken at hundreds of schools throughout North America. In 2020, Tyson was featured on the Food Network Canada show “Wall of Chefs” and created an online cooking show called The Confined Kitchen.

Tyson spoke to local students on gratitude and looking for a silver lining.

Baer led students through an engaging one-hour workshop to create a plan on how students can create a safe and diverse learning space for everyone.

Staff say students who attend the conference leave with a set of useful leadership skills they can apply to different aspects of their lives.

“We want to build resilience, teamwork, skills, communication skills – those kinds of things with our students,” says Heather McCaig, leadership teacher. “So no matter what job they go to or where they go in life, they’re able to bounce back and they’re able to be leaders.”

Along with keynote presentations the day was filled with student-run activities that focus on building leadership skills.

Students from all three local divisions – public, Catholic and Prairie Rose – were invited to attend the conference organized by Crescent Heights students in the leadership program.

“You get to listen to some great speakers,” explained Jazmin Malmgren, Grade 11 student and conference co-organizer. “You get to learn different things about gratitude and very motivational things that you can take home with you, and things that you can use to better your mindset and your life, and I think it’s very important.”

Malmgren hopes other students are able to take home a message of inspiration from the conference and use it to make a difference in their own lives.

“You’re thinking about it while it’s being said,” says Malmgren. “But then you take it home and you’re still thinking about it. Like, in the morning, I’m gonna get up and I’m gonna say, ‘Wow, today’s gonna be a great day!'”

Grade 12 leadership student and conference co-organizer Samual Collins told the News he never engaged in leadership roles or student council before his senior year of high school and says by stepping out of his comfort zone he’s developed more self confidence and is hoping to share that with other students in attendance.

“For me, it’s just trying to find something in your life that means something to you,” says Collins. “And living with it and just trying to build that.

“So I’d say that doing this type of stuff has made me more confident and more willing to speak to someone like you.”

The conference also provided a space for students who might be thinking about taking on leadership roles from different schools to gather and network.

“We want this to be a networking situation as well,” says McCaig. “To learn and grow, and all the kids here today will be more confident to go home and throw things (pitch ideas) for their students in their building so it’s that pay it forward idea.”

More than 70 students attended the Horizons Leadership Conference.

Crescent Heights High School began hosting the annual leadership conference in 2006.

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