Equipping high school students with the leadership skills to make a positive impact within their school and community is the main goal of the upcoming Shelby County Schools High School Leadership Conference.
The conference is being hosted by the Oak Mountain High School Student Government Association and will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on September 12 at Valleydale Church. Administrators from every high school in the Shelby County School System will nominate 20 students to attend the conference.
According to John Milton, who serves as the OMHS Student Government Association sponsor, the idea for the conference took root after eight of his SGA students attended a leadership conference at Auburn University last year.
“On the way home we were discussing what they had learned and what type of impact it had on them,” said Milton. “The one thing all of the students said was that they wished more students would have had the opportunity to go. As we continued to discuss it, we decided to create our own event for all of our students in Shelby County.”
While researching the idea for hosting the conference, Milton discovered two districts in Georgia – Gwinnett and Cobb Counties – who have implemented successful high school leadership conferences for their students. That knowledge gave legitimacy to the idea to plan a similar event for Shelby County.
Kevin Scott, the co-founder of the ADDO Institute, will serve as the keynote speaker. ADDO, which is Latin for “inspire”, is a leadership organization created to inspire individuals today to impact tomorrow. As a college student, Scott led one of the largest collegiate charities in the United States, presiding over unprecedented growth and a 400 percent increase in funds raised. In addition to Scott, there will also be 10 college students from the University of Alabama, Samford University, and Auburn University to lead small group break-out sessions.
Milton said the business community has been extremely supportive of the leadership conference by helping to provide $8,000 in sponsorship funding so that students can attend the event free of charge.
“We don’t want anything, including bus transportation expense, to be a factor. We want every student to have an opportunity to attend,” Milton told a group of Shelby County administrators recently. “We are very grateful that the business community has really bought into this idea. A large portion of the credit for this event goes to my SGA members for their vision and work to put this together and getting the word out to potential sponsors. ”
Milton said the business community recognizes that ‘soft skills’ are important in producing graduates who will one day be entering the workforce. The leadership conference will focus on helping to teach students about the importance of developing these skills.
“The true measure of success will be in helping these students realize the importance of collaborating, of setting goals, and developing these critical ‘soft skills’ they will need to be successful at the next step as they enter college or start their careers,” Milton said.