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Grasmick talks to student leaders

March 30, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - North Hagerstown High School junior Kaitlin Zimmer admitted she was nervous Thursday morning just before she spoke to a crowd of roughly 1,000 student council members from across the state.

Zimmer was about to make her campaign pitch to become the next first vice president of the Maryland Association of Student Councils.

The annual event began Wednesday and winds up today at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center on U.S. 40 in Hagerstown.

Zimmer said she has been preparing her speech for three months.

"The vice president is a very important position ... I just hope I don't trip and fall," she said.

The election results were unavailable at press time.

Matt Amalfitano, a senior at North Hagerstown High School and president of the Washington County Association of Student Councils, said the event was attended by student council members in grades six through 12.

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"These are the future leaders of not just Maryland but the nation," he said during an interview as candidates addressed the crowd in an adjoining room. "These are the kids who will be the movers and shakers."

In addition to electing officers, Amalfitano said the students participated in workshops that taught subjects such as diversity and team building.

"All these things that are necessary to being a good leader," he said.

Amalfitano said the students appreciated that State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick attended the event Thursday morning to show her support.

"She's the head honcho," he said. "I think this shows (state officials) care."

Grasmick told the students from a stage at the front of the grand ballroom that they represented a special group.

She acknowledged the commitment and professionalism of the student councils' adult advisers, and encouraged the youngsters to continue their quest to become future leaders.

"This is about student empowerment ... I want you to develop these leadership skills," she said.

On Wednesday, motivational speaker Sam Glenn spoke to the students. Glenn has written 15 books focusing on attitude, character and failure, among other things.

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