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Horton students participate in National Young Leaders State Conference

Posted Sunday, February 25, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - Austin Hundley and Austin Mathews, eighth graders at Horton Middle School, participated in the National Young Leaders State Conference (NYLSC), in Charlotte February 16-18.

During the first Leadership Development Meeting, students participated in group ice breakers, then proceeded to a “Fuel for an Emerging Leader” exercise. This activity provided each participant with anonymous feedback collected from members of his or her community before arriving at the conference. The feedback focused on specific areas for improvement, public speaking or adaptability of leadership skills, for example, and provided each participant with the information necessary to set personal leadership goals to attain by the completion of NYLSC.

Another session, held on Saturday, February 17, focused on the ways that leaders work with others. Hundley and the other scholars investigated group dynamics. Each student was tasked with preparing and delivering a short presentation on an assigned topic. This performance was videotaped and presented to fellow scholars, who gave feedback. Scholars then applied the leadership skills learned in events that tasked the students with managing the commencement ceremony, variety show and scholar-led seminar portions of the conference.

On February 18, the theme was exploration of project management. Participants worked within leadership groups to create a machine capable of accurately launching a projectile. To do so required pre-project goal setting and planning, management of a budget, allocation of resources and periodic “pulse checks” to assess the status of the project. The lessons that participants learned in Saturday's study of group dynamics were directly applicable in this session.

Participants also spent time on Sunday exploring the real-world ramifications of responsible decision-making by investigating the true story of Sampson Davis, who overcame a difficult childhood in the inner city of Newark to become an emergency room physician. The day ended a NYLSC variety show.

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