Three Gilroy middle schoolers attend leadership conference in D.C.

 

Three Ascencion Solorsano Middle School rising seventh graders
spent a week in the nation’s capital, soaking up the sights and
participating in a prestigious leadership conference.
Three Ascencion Solorsano Middle School rising seventh graders spent a week in the nation’s capital, soaking up the sights and participating in a prestigious leadership conference.

Ryan Citti, Bailee Bearden and Dillon McFarland were selected by their teachers to participate in the six-day program, themed “Voices of Leadership: Reflecting on the past to create the future,” which drew more than 250 middle schoolers from across the country.

Put on by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, the July 17-22 conference included units on the impact of leadership throughout critical periods of American history.

“It was really exciting,” said Citti, 12. “There were a lot of attractions and a lot of history happened there.”

As part of the conference, the students worked at individual workshops with small groups of students and participated in field trips to the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and various other points of interest.

“During the council, we learned about all the leadership traits and how to bring them back home to our communities. At first I was a little nervous about not knowing anybody there, but I made friends in no time. My favorite part was the classes because they gave us a huge opportunity to learn and explore new ideas, ” said McFarland.

Attending the $1,800 conference was no easy task and the families of the students footed the bill themselves. Two parents joined the students and said the cost was worth it for the experience.

The aim of the conference is “to inspire students to recognize their own leadership skills, measure their skills against those of current and former leaders and return home with new confidence in their ability to exercise positive influence within their communities,” said Marguerite Regan, dean of academic affairs for the CYLC. “Young people are not only welcome in Washington, D.C., they actually keep this city and our country running.”

Citti said participating in the conference helped him hone his leadership and speaking skills.

“It makes me nervous sometime to stand up in front of people,” he said. “Now I’m not so nervous anymore.”

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