The most successfully event we have had this Spring is without a doubt the LEAD Conference. Thanks to SLB member, and future Co-Chair, Max Marton, we were able to secure his high school Science Leadership Academy for LEAD. The school was more than willing to aid us in any way they could, being as enthusiastic as we were for the conference. Even though nerves were running high, this being the new team’s first LEAD, we needn’t have worried. Students came pouring in on time and eager to participate. While there were minor hiccups, no lights, a locked electrical closet, and an uncooperative mic-stand, the opening ceremony went just as planned, the youth performers blowing away the crowd with their strength of words. Adults and students alike were greatly impressed and inspired. Afterwards, workshops and lunch ran without a hitch (the electrical closet was finally unlocked and there was light!). The team received great feedback from attendees, which included an older woman bringing her four grandchildren to experience the day. There were also six eager applicants for next school year’s Student LEADership Board. With 50 plus attendees, a family from the community included, inspiring workshops, and prospective new SLB members, the day was an imminent success.
With a triumphant LEAD Conference under the belt, the SLB moved forward with the Citywide GSA meetings. The April meeting was planned to be a game night, a way to relax after the exhaustive efforts of LEAD. Although only a few students were expected to attend, fewer than fifteen, nearly forty youth showed up. In addition, Multicultural Academy GSA, which had just formed and had their first meeting only days before, came in near full attendance, with the eager and determined President. The Multicultural students quickly networked with the Northeast HS GSA whom were selling buttons promoting the Day of Silence. Multicultural GSA order about twenty button form Northeast. This kind of networking and support between schools is one of the primary goals of the Citywide Meetings, and it proved this year’s effort worth it.
The SLB has also grown yet again in the Spring season. Two more CAPA and SLA students, Barry Soto and Wynn Geary have joined along with students from the very activePennsylvania School of the Deaf GSA, Gixa Rodriguez and Tyhira Jones. Admittedly the surprising arrival of the PSD students did result in a minor speed bump. Not knowing the students were going to show up to an SLB meeting, the board was unprepared with no interpreter. While this was a difficult meeting to facilitate, it still proved to be a productive meet, the PSD students assuring that they enjoyed themselves and would love to continue working with the Board. Arrangements for an interpreter at weekly meeting are being made now.
The last Citywide Meeting was brought together by the effort of old and new SLB members alike. The last Citywide of the school year was celebrated with a picnic in WashingSquare Park. Although there were issues with moving the numerous and heavy supplies, which included twenty filled and fragile waterballons, the ten blocks form the office to the park, and an unexpected number of students, everyone was able to be feed and have plenty of fun. On behalf of the attending students, the SLB, and the Education Team, it was easily one of the most enjoyable meetings since the first in October.
We have a quickly growing Student LEADership Board, now 9 students and counting, and have built a strong and familial community with Philadelphia county GSAs. This school year has been nothing but meeting challenges head on and surpassing even our greatest expectations. But we’re not done yet. There’s still the summer ahead of us, with an SLB retreat to plan and look forward to in July!