Lynbrook High School students attended their first National Student Leadership Summit, an annual event hosted by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The NFHS is an organization responsible for drafting legislation for high school sports and extracurriculars. Since 1920, it has reached more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs.
About 150 student leaders travel to the NFHS headquarters in Indianapolis each year to participate in the Summit — an interactive three-day meeting — to develop leadership skills and enact change within their schools across the country.
Due to the many restrictions that have arisen from the coronavirus pandemic, the NFHS hosted its first online student leadership initiative, allowing students to discuss prevalent issues from home and carry their influence out into their districts. One thousand online seats were reserved for any high school student that was interested, free of charge. The association requested participants in athletics, music ensembles, speech and debate teams, theatre programs or student government.
This year’s summit took place from July 20 through 22. Various topics were discussed each day, ranging from managing relationships to seeking a career path that fits one’s individual passions.
A total of five speakers presented to the students over the three days: Julie Carrier, award winning speaker, Emmy nominated TV personality and author; Omari Pearson, author, entrepreneur, professional athlete and mentor; Debra Hult, co-founder of Core Trainings and nationally recognized public speaker; Dr. Gregory Dale, college and professional athletic consultant; and Deanna Singh, author and entrepreneur.
Mary Kirby, the faculty adviser for the Student Government Association at LHS, gathered 15 SGA students to attend the virtual summit, making this Lynbrook’s first year participating in the event.
“The National Federation of State High School Associations hoped to reach thousands of high school students through its first ever virtual National Student Leadership Summit,” Kirby said. “The SGA took advantage of this opportunity to listen and learn from leaders who will help them to make an impact on the world. I have always believed in giving each day the opportunity that it deserves to learn and grow into the best that we can be. These presenters showed our students that although we could have never imagined what we would be presented with in 2020, we can’t change it, but we can manage how we react to it as positive leaders and role models.”
Maeve Mooney, LHS’s student body vice president, said that her two favorite presentations were Deanna Singh’s and Debra Hult’s. Singh conducted a short study, creating a series of scenarios to prompt students to consider bias and racism as it appears in their lives.
Hult’s presentation was more lighthearted, discussing the impact of powerful leadership and positive energy. Mooney said that through the summit, she learned the true value of leadership and how she can sew these skills into her position at school.
“It is so important for the members of SGA to work together so that we can continue to influence and provide amazing opportunities for the school,” Mooney said. “Although we always have and always will work as a team, I feel that we will all value each other so much more and have taken away such great advice from this conference.”
Other participants, including student body Secretary Emma Leighley, Cabinet member Sofia Yaker and sophomore class President Harrison Kirby, said they greatly appreciated the virtues they learned through the summit presentations.
The student leaders of LHS will continue to employ their bolstered leadership skills within the Student Government Association, honing the power of their influence throughout their school and Lynbrook community.