Baie Verte stu­dents full of spirit fol­low­ing national youth lead­er­ship con­fer­ence

Stu­dents learn to sup­port each other

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY Sherry Hass (teacher) Ryan White (teacher) Sam Stuck­less Cody Pen­ney Jaime Robin Walsh Emma Jean Downey Gabrielle Haas Chelsea Green­ham Madi­son Hewlett

BAIE VERTE, NL — Jaime Robin Walsh de­scribes par­tic­i­pat­ing in a national youth fo­rum in On­tario late last month as one of the best ex­pe­ri­ences of her life.

Hosted by the Water­loo Re­gion Dis­trict School Board and Sir John A. Mac­don­ald Sec­ondary School, the 33rd Cana­dian Stu­dent Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence took place Sept. 26-30.

Walsh, 16, was one of eight stu­dents and two teach­ers from Cop­per Ridge Academy in Baie Verte who at­tended the con­fer­ence.

“I re­ally en­joyed the speak­ers and the spirit of the con­fer­ence,” she said. “The peo­ple there were so in­spi­ra­tional. Ev­ery­one was en­thu­si­as­tic and en­joy­ing their time.”

The con­fer­ence goal was to build on the theme of de­vel­op­ing an “in­no­va­tive spirit” in stu­dents.

Walsh is now ea­ger to share what she’s learned with other stu­dents at her school.

“We learned a lot of cheers to help pump up our stu­dents,” she said. “The en­ergy there was unreal.”

Baie Verte stu­dents mak­ing the trip — from Grades 7 to 12 — were all mem­bers of the school’s lead­er­ship com­mit­tee last year.

Teacher Ryan White said the trip was a great op­por­tu­nity for his stu­dents.

“When we first ar­rived, we came into Water­loo to Sir John A. Mac­don­ald High School and we were greeted by hun­dreds Eight stu­dents and two teach­ers from Cop­per Ridge Academy in Baie Verte re­cently at­tended a national youth lead­er­ship con­fer­ence in On­tario. Mem­bers of the group in­cluded, from left, (back) Matthew Saun­ders, Cody Pen­ney, Ryan White, Sherry Haas, and Gabrielle Haas; (front) Emma Downey, Jaime Walsh, Sa­man­tha Stuck­less, Madi­son Hewlett, and Chelsea Green­ham.

of stu­dents cheer­ing and chant­ing,” White said. “Com­ing from a small school, our stu­dents cer­tainly aren’t used to that.”

The stu­dents were di­vided into var­i­ous groups, giv­ing them an op­por­tu­nity to meet and work with stu­dents from other prov­inces. All stu­dents were in­vited to at­tend the var­i­ous keynote speak­ers’ pre­sen­ta­tions.

Front lines

Dr. Sa­man­tha Nutt, founder and ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of War Child Canada, told her story of be­ing at the front lines of many of the world’s ma­jor crises in coun­tries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, So­ma­lia, and Dar­fur. Stu Saun­ders was an­other keynote speaker. He trav­els across the United States and Canada de­liv­er­ing em­pow­er­ing and mem­o­rable pre­sen­ta­tions.

“Stu is the head

of

(Youth

Lead­er­ship Camps Canada) YLCC Me­dia,” White said. “They just fin­ished do­ing a doc­u­men­tary that will be re­leased in the next cou­ple of weeks called ‘Ris­ing Above.’ The doc­u­men­tary looks at bul­ly­ing within the school sys­tem. A por­tion of the film is ded­i­cated to the girl (Lynelle Cantwell) from Holy Trin­ity High School. So, this pre­sen­ta­tion res­onated with our stu­dents be­cause of the lo­cal con­nec­tion.”

The teacher also sat in on the pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment/ad­vi­sor ses­sion.

“That was ad­vo­cat­ing for teach­ers,” he said. “We talk about how we can change the kids and have them fit into our for­mat, or how we could use how kids are com­ing into us to our ad­van­tage and adapt to their uses of tech­nol­ogy and so­cial me­dia. It was a good ses­sion, and it def­i­nitely res­onated with me.”

Stu­dents also vis­ited a farmer’s market. They set them­selves up out­side a gro­cery store and en­cour­aged shop­pers to make do­na­tions to a lo­cal food bank.

“When it was all said and done the stu­dents had col­lected 42,000 meals for the Water­loo area,” White said.

Stu­dents and staff were grateful to the com­mu­nity for sup­port­ing the fundrais­ers that made the trip pos­si­ble.

For Chelsea Green­ham, the high­light of the con­fer­ence was meet­ing peo­ple of var­i­ous eth­nic­i­ties.

“We learned a lot about how lead­er­ship af­fects ev­ery­body across Canada,” the 16-yearold said. “And, where we live in a small com­mu­nity, we (the school’s lead­er­ship group) got to ex­pe­ri­ence all the ex­cite­ment from the con­fer­ence. The spirit aware­ness was amaz­ing, and will help us to re­vive the spirit at our school.”

As for at­tend­ing the con­fer­ence, she said it’s some­thing all stu­dents should ex­pe­ri­ence at least once in their lives.

Sam Stuck­less en­joyed the var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties as well as the work­shops and pre­sen­ta­tions. Those who gave pre­sen­ta­tions were pas­sion­ate about their cause, ac­cord­ing to the 16-yearold, and the top­ics were in­ter­est­ing.

“The whole idea of school spirit, of cheer­ing, is some­thing we can all bring back to our schools,” Stuck­less said. “Ev­ery­one is part of a group, but can still be their own per­son. And we can sup­port each other.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Baie Verte stu­dents proudly dis­played their love of New­found­land and Labrador by wear­ing sou’wester hats.

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