Students learn leadership skills, throw cultural event
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.