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Conference hosts state student leaders

December 15, 2009|By Brigitte Grewe/Pulse correspondent

About 100 middle and high school leaders from Western Maryland met Dec. 12 at North Hagerstown High School for the the Western Divisional Leadership Conference.

The conference is hosted by the Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC), which is an organization of Maryland's Student Councils. According to its Web site, MASC is "an organization that strives to develop leadership, accomplish student advocacy, and promote communication which unites leaders around the state."

This conference was created to provide a meeting place in an area where Western Maryland leaders from Garrett, Carroll, Washington, Allegany and Frederick counties, could attend that was closer to their homes.

Regional conferences are held all over Maryland including the Eastern Shore and southern Maryland. Before the Western Divisional was started, students from Garrett and Allegany counties had to travel more than four hours to get the convention meetings.

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During the Saturday event, those in attendance were provided a breakfast by North High cafeteria staff. Then the crowd was greeted by MASC state officers: Jigisha Srivastav, president; Malcolm Peacock, vice president; Shelby Richter, second vice president; and Steven Wang, treasurer (who is from Washington County) Everyone was instructed to meet and greet other people followed by introductions.

Students attended numerous workshops that demonstrated good leadership skills. With these skills, students are intended to take them back to their home counties and home schools and promote leadership.

Workshops at the conference were hands on. Most workshops periodically had an energizer, which is a game or saying, that gets people more motivated or awake to learn or listen. Workshop leaders taught lessons such as "The Government and Your Student Council," "What Does it Mean to Be a Student Leader," "Naughty Words," "Team Games and Energizers," "Diversity" and "Reaching the Right Decision the Right Way."

Steven introduced keynote speaker Molly Glover saying she "will fill the students with inspiration and motivation." Molly Glover, an inspirational guest speaker, speed-painted a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. to "If You Are Out There" by John Legend (you can watch her in action on YouTube).

Tyler Deatlehauser, 13, from Braddock Middle School in Allegany County, said the conference "influenced and inspired me to help many people in my community."

He plans to "motivate his school to participate in several community events."

His favorite part was the sarcoma cancer presentation. Tyler said he now feels more confident in participating in these kinds of events.

Bryan Wills, 17, a junior at North Hagerstown High School, was a first-timer to the leadership conventions. His said his favorite part was the workshops, but what really brought him to participate in the convention was the influence of Steven, who is also a junior at NHHS.

"He told me about it, and at first I was apprehensive because I didn't know what to expect," Bryan said.

Overall though, Bryan did enjoy coming to the convention.

Majesta Warner, 16, from the Center for Career and Technical Education in Allegany County, said her favorite part was "meeting new people, the activities and the ice breakers."

Majesta said she will bring back more fundraising ideas to her community after the conference.

"It was very informative and fun," she said.

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