Students learn lead­er­ship skills, throw cul­tural event

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - OBITUARIES - By Jen­nifer Con­nor

Con­densed into a three­week sum­mer ses­sion, the Pearl S. Buck In­ter­na­tional (PSBI) High School Lead­er­ship Pro­gram trained 11 mid­dle school­ers and high school­ers, rep­re­sent­ing 10 dif­fer­ent schools, in the nuDNFHV RI EHNH­fiFLDO OHDGHU­ship.

The pro­gram cul­mi­nated Mon­day, Aug. 13, with Chi­nese Cul­tural Night — an event the students put to­gether in one week, the last week of their pro­gram.

Held in the event tent at the Pearl S. Buck House in Hill­town, the students cel­e­brated Chi­nese cul­ture through food, song, dance and kung fu.

“The pro­gram fo­cused on lead­er­ship, team-build­ing DNG fiNGLNJ RuW wKDW NLNG of leader you are,” Cian Grourke, a ris­ing Pen­nridge High School ju­nior, said. “Then we got to plan an event and we de­cided to fo­cus on what adop­tive fam­i­lies need.”

Grourke spoke highly of a panel of lo­cal lead­ers, who dis­cussed their hu­man­i­tar­ian, lead­er­ship and cross- cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences. Panel mem­bers in­cluded Ger­ard Daly, who pro­vided hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance in Haiti af­ter Hur­ri­cane To­mas, and Tony Luna, vice pres­i­dent of re­la­tion­ship de­vel­op­ment for PSBI.

Leonette Boiarski, who is FHUWL­fiHG Ey WKH CHNWHU IRU Cre­ative Lead­er­ship, lead PSBI’s lead­er­ship pro­gram. Boiarski is Wel­come House and Op­por­tu­nity House di­rec­tor and has worked for PSBI for about 10 years.

“It was quite in­tense for these kids,” Boiarski said. “Usu­ally our lead­er­ship pro­gram last for three months.”

The pro­gram is funded by Com­cast, which Boiarski said goes hand-in-hand with the com­pany’s fo­cus on youth lead­er­ship. Stu­dent’s ap­ply for the pro­gram, in­ter- view and are cho­sen to par­tic­i­pate free of charge.

Priyanka Pa­di­dam, a ris­ing ju­nior at Cen­tral Bucks South, said her mother found out about the pro­gram from a school web­site.

This class of PSBI’s lead­er­ship pro­gram wanted to help adop­tive chil­dren con- nect with their roots and their new fam­i­lies. Since PSBI fa­cil­i­tates adoption from China, Columbia, Korea and the Philippines, the students chose Chi­nese cul­ture as the theme for the evening.

David Mullen, of Perkasie, found out about the event from his neigh­bor, Grourke.

“My wife’s grand­par­ents were Chris­tian mis­sion­ar­ies in China and her fa­ther was born in China,” Mullen said. The cou­ple brought their chil­dren so they could learn more about their fam­ily’s con­nec­tion with Chi­nese cul­ture.

Nearly 44 fam­i­lies had signed in and the young lead­ers were very pleased about the turnout, ac­cord­ing to Grourke.

Next, the students in this ses­sion of the lead­er­ship pro­gram will be in­vited to act as guides to the fall class’ ef­forts to host an event.

“Co-train­ing takes the students to the next level of lead­er­ship,” Boiarski said.

In clos­ing com­ments, Janet Mintzer, pres­i­dent and CEO of PSBI, said, “Most of all, I hope you were in­spired by the young lead­ers who cre­ated this event.”

Cian Grourke, pres­i­dent of the Pen­nridge High School Class of 2014, left, and Priyanka Pa­di­dam, a ris­ing ju­nior at Cen­tral Bucks East, wel­come guests to Chi­nese Cul­tural Night.

Pal­isades High School ris­ing fresh­man Rachel Col­letti and Cen­tral Bucks East ris­ing se­nior Jane Chap­man over­see the Chi­nese Cul­tural Night raf­fle to help raise funds for Wel­come House.

At­ten­dees could taste many dif­fer­ent Chi­nese food dishes dur­ing Chi­nese Cul­tural Night.

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