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Grade 8’s : The leaders of tomorrow

Grade 8’s : The leaders of tomorrow

Lauren Kimoto, Features Editor and Netanya Castillo, Features Writer and Anna Hwang, News Editor and  Yilian Zhao, News Writer

On February 19th, the Gator Leadership Club (GLC) held their annual Grade 8 Leadership Conference.  The conference, organized mainly by students, was a morning of excitement and games for the students attending.  The students also learned valuable leadership and personal skills.  

The attendees were invited because a staff member had seen their potential to become a leader in the school.P1060094

The event began with Mr. Kozlovic welcoming the students and encouraging them to become involved in the school.  

“There are so many cool clubs and groups driven by students and you are capable of being a leader in many aspects.” -Mr. Kozlovic, WGSS principal.

Students participated in two of four possible workshops.  The workshops were on public speaking, involvement, effective collaboration, and personal management.

During each session students played some games that related to the theme of the workshop.  In the public speaking seminar they were challenged to take a paragraph on an obscure, boring topic and present it in a way that made it P1060251exciting and engaging.  They also played games that required you to project your voice, but in funny accents.  

The involvement workshop games were specially created to get everyone participating; there was a scavenger hunt, charades and a few rounds of human knot.

The effective collaboration seminar focused on working together. Students had to lead each other through an obstacle course, and stand together on a shrinking “newspaper lifeboat”.

“I learned that you have to trust one another, work together and if you fight you aren’t going to win.” -Marissa Collins, Grade 8 Attendee.

At the personal management seminar students played a variety of games. Some used candy as an incentive to learn P1060170about time management, their limits, and believing in themselves.

“I thought it was really fun and I had a great time. I learned a lot and met a lot of people to the point that I didn’t feel nervous. I felt comfortable since the GLC members were so welcoming.” – Prabhasha Wickramaarchchi, Grade 8 Attendee.

The workshops were geared to make the Grade 8’s think critically of their characteristics and the impact they can have on others.  The design of the games caused them to view others positively and as equals.  

“I want them to think about their own characteristics… where those characteristics will flower up and blossom down the road in terms of their life and what they want to do with their passions and jobs.” -Ms. Bryant-Taneda, Sponsor Teacher for GLCP1060255

Three WGSS alumni, Jason Manning, Tara Teng, and Bonnie Tulloch, came to speak about their personal experiences in finding a leadership role and their place in the community.  

Jason, who graduated in 2008 and is now a motivational speaker, shared his journey of cycling around the world, and the self-discovery it led to.

“What defines us as humans is not our jobs, or our grades, but our passion, dedication, compassion and leadership. Only by risking failure do we have the chance to do something great. ” -Jason Manning.

Tara is a former Miss Canada and a strong advocate for human rights and the end of human trafficking. She challenged the students in attendance to do social good and make positive change with the massive influence they can have on the community and world.  

“Inspiration and passion are what motivates people.” -Tara Teng.

Bonnie, who has a Masters in Children’s Literature, spoke on what she believes are some of the qualities of a strong leader: imperfection, humility, willingness to learn, motivation, creativity, awareness of weaknesses, acceptance to help, and the ability to not feel threatened by the strengths of others.  

“Sometimes we think that we can only make a difference if we’re famous, but just by talking to that one shy kid, or defending someone from bullying, or smiling at someone, you are already impacting other people and making a difference in the world.” – Bonnie Tulloch.

At the end of the day the Grade 8’s learned several valuable skills and lessons: how to command a room, how to be a leader without being bossy, and how to accept everyone’s abilities, confidence, and responsibility.

“I think it was important to have older people come to the school to talk about their experiences and to give the grade 8’s someone to look up to. This helped them realize that their dreams are possible.” -Michelle Tang, GLC member.P1060171

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