The Birth of the Leadership Council at EHHS

On Wednesday, October 28, 50 EHHS students participated in the Jostens Renaissance Virtual Leadership Conference. This leadership conference consisted of many young leaders from the state of Connecticut who had the chance to learn many strategies, ideas, and methods on how to become a better leader and improve the atmosphere and mood of those around them.

Improving the Atmosphere of Schools & Empowering Leaders

Jostens Renaissance presented to a group of student leaders from a variety of different schools. The speakers aimed at discussing ways to improve the school, its surroundings, and the atmosphere. The speakers hoped to inspire the attendees to help improve the mood of students when they first walk into school in the morning. The conference consisted of five main sections: coping strategies/mental health, time management, team and trust builders, school spirit, and inclusion. They shared information about how to become a better leader, effectively manage your time, ensure that time is spent improving yourself and your school, and how to make everyone feel empowered and belonging. The speakers inspired their participants to think about how leaders can ensure that these things happen across their schools. I can still remember thinking about how success is not limited while listening to Dr. Phil Campbell. Mike Smith also said that letting others know they are appreciated and telling them how important they are is so powerful because it can make them feel included and maybe even inspire them to be more positive towards others. Overall, the speakers made me realize that I should always be the best version of myself and give what I can give because it can end up changing the atmosphere around me and the moods of others.

Jostens Renaissance

Jostens Renaissance is an organization that has currently been holding leadership conferences in every single state of the United States, in Canada, and in Europe. EHHS had the honor of hearing the valuable words of speakers Dr. Phil Campbell, Dr. Tara Campbell, and Mike Smith, all of whom tried to extend their knowledge to other young leaders. Jostens Renaissance always hopes to provide all attendees with the motivation, energy, and strategies that all leaders need in order to improve the atmosphere and mood of all students, teachers, and faculty. At every Jostens Renaissance conference, speakers and ambassadors try to relieve the pressures faced by student leaders and help them to continue to lead successfully.

Ways for Improvement and My Main Takeaway

The speakers at the conference provided the leaders with many ideas on how the atmosphere of schools can be improved and how schools can be made a more positive learning environment for every student. Some of those ideas included music in the hallways, planning days for “goofy teachers” to lighten the mood, birthday/bulletin boards, attendance walls, virtual game night, senior thank you notes, stress dogs, and more. Dr. Tara Campbell discussed many of these ideas and how leaders can carry out these ideas into their school to make others feel included, to lift spirits and the mood of those in school, and to better appreciate the things that may go unnoticed. The speakers also discussed how important it is for a leader to have a good mentality; leaders will be more willing to create change and help spread positivity when they have a good mentality. When leaders have good mentalies, they may even succeed in giving everyone else a good mentality. Jostens also discussed how important it is that people take time out of their day to find happiness, be the best version of themselves, and surround themselves with supportive people. They shared how it is important for people to shift their mentality from “I’m just” to show how they are worth so much more than it may seem like. I think Jostens Renaissance held this conference to inspire leaders around the world to take action and to spread their knowledge to better help improve schools and the mindsets of leaders. As the presenters said, one declared thing is not going to fundamentally change the structure and atmosphere of schools. However, with the participation and action taken by multiple leaders, it is possible for positive change to occur within schools. Emily Mazzucco, Isabella Martindale, and I decided to try and take action in our school community to create a fundamental and lasting change.

A Leadership Council

After being inspired to take action and leave a lasting impact on my school and community, myself and two other leaders have decided to move forward with the knowledge we learned from the leadership conference and create a leadership council. In this leadership council, Isabella Martindale, Emily Mazzucco, and I are planning to first bring together all of those who participated in the leadership conference at EHHS. We will later open up the council to others who have the potential of being a leader and who want to take action in making the school a more positive environment. Isabella Martindale explains that we are looking forward to taking the creative ideas we learned at the conference and applying them to our school to improve the atmosphere and mood of all students, teachers, and faculty: “I enjoyed the conference very much and believed it to be very informative and inspiring. I believed it to be so inspiring that I along with two of my peers decided to take the basics of the information we received from the conference and start our own leadership council at EHHS. Our plan is to build off of the ideas presented at the conference to better our school and to give a unique leadership opportunity to anyone at EHHS.” Emily Mazzucco extended on our main goal: “The conference gave us so many good ideas and so much information about how to be a leader that it did not seem right to not use it. Why let all that information go to waste when it can be used to improve the school community? By forming this committee hopefully we can introduce these ideas to more people and give anyone a leadership opportunity.” Overall, we are looking forward to implementing this council into EHHS to improve the school’s atmosphere and mood and provide other students who did not attend the conference the opportunity to make a positive impact in their school and community.