On Sunday November 9, nearly 300 Future Monarchs in grades 5 through 8 joined over 90 ASB student volunteers in our 4th Annual Learning to Lead Conference (L2L). This newer MD tradition has become a firm reality at Mater Dei since the first event was held in February 2012. Since creating this event, we have developed a four-year curriculum track so that students can attend annually from 5th to 8th grade and experience different workshops each time.
L2L is made possible by a partnership with the Activities and Advancement Offices, the Performing Arts Department, and The Association of Catholic Student Councils (TACSC). Students who attend the event experience a full day of leadership training led MD ASB students who spend months preparing their 45-minute lessons. This year’s class workshops were Diversity & Cultural Awareness and the TLCs of Being a 21st Century Leader (TLC = Thankful, Looking, Citizen).
In addition to leading workshops in the classroom, ASB students serve as keynote presenters in the morning session. This year Graham ’17 and Emmett ’18 McGee and Chloe Wallace ’16 inspired L2L attendees with their presentations on “Accepting Others” and “Attitude Reflects Leadership.” Our keynote presenters did an incredible job inspiring the L2L attendees.
A few years ago, we partnered with the Advanced Theatre Arts Students to serve as afternoon keynote speakers. These talented students have trained attendees on everything from group dynamics, to public speaking, and working with different types of people. This year their presentation was called “What Would a Leader Do?” and they created skits and scenarios in which the student attendees became “spectACTORS” to propose solutions to school-life challenges. This format was modeled after Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed and was an informative, fun, and interactive way to deal with sensitive situations including taking personal responsibility, exclusion, and responsible online behavior to name a few.
Upon completing their classroom workshops, it was time to explore the campus through the Leadership Challenge, which representatives from TACSC helped organize. Grouped in teams of eight, our L2L attendees had to race through seven stations to solve trivia questions, complete puzzles, or tackle obstacles. The first team to complete the challenge (accurately) received a great prize! The Leadership Challenge is always a favorite activity as it gets students out to explore the MD campus, tackle challenges, and work with new teammates.
As always, our day of leadership concluded with a Mass and sending forth to “go and make a difference in our schools and communities.” MD Rector/Chaplain Fr. Kiet Ta had great energy and enthusiasm and the students really enjoyed him.
One of the greatest joys about the growth of L2L is seeing students who have attended this event year after year. Moreover, there are now a large number of MD student volunteers who came to L2L as Future Monarchs and have enjoyed the experience of giving back and inspiring the next generation.
So, L2L 2014 is a wrap! Thanks to all those who worked so hard to make this wonderful event such an incredible success!
Diana Neustadt, Director of Student Activities