Great leaders weren’t always leaders in every aspect or moment of life. The best leaders were followers that took the time to absorb knowledge and perspectives from all. LEAD Spark, which I attended last month, is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any student to ignite their leadership through interactive presenters and motivational speakers.
It is beyond recommended for students to step outside of their comfort zone to bring service opportunities back to their NHS, NJHS, and NatStuCo chapters. Regardless of your organization’s title or the experience of the participants, everyone is able to better themselves to make an impact on their community. This is leadership.
As a high school student, I highly recommend this conference to any adviser who wants to challenge their students and take their organization to the next level. The networking, collaboration, and laughs bring students of all demographics to assist in our sole goal of helping those around us. Our acts of service can be amplified through exposure to other service projects, comprehension of self-worth, and effective leadership, which is all highlighted throughout the sessions at LEAD.
The last LEAD Spark Conference took place in 2020. This year’s conference blew my expectations out of the water. With each member of my team scattering to different sessions, they each came back with a new skill set that they could implement to better themselves and our chapter. For example, sessions like “Officer Training” and “Deep Dive: Youth As Changemakers Today and Tomorrow” were chances for students to build their leadership skills while meeting other students of a similar caliber.
I was fortunate enough to be selected as a presenter to showcase my NHS chapter’s service project, “Blankets at the Border.” From the perspective of a presenter, the conference was incredibly organized and there was plenty of staff to help with registration, technology, and security. It was absolutely groundbreaking to give my peers the opportunity to showcase their handiwork and passion on the national level. It’s even more meaningful to think of how our project can be replicated across the country. Everyone should jump at the chance to present at the conference in addition to being an attendee.
Ultimately, NASSP’s LEAD Spark Conference strengthens the drive, resources, and knowledge of what it means to be a leader, while emphasizing how we as students and faculty can work as a team. It is clear every one of my peers has matured exponentially over the span of a weekend. The conference goes beyond the classic information sessions to create a lifelong growth mindset and unforgettable memories. These are experiences that cannot be associated with monetary value. This involvement is truly priceless.
I thank the National Association of Secondary School Principals for putting students like me on the forefront of change, and I highly recommend the LEAD Spark Conference to all. So, take that train, bus, van, or plane to spark your leadership!