Students learn importance of empathy, leadership at annual conference

High school students participating in breakout session at leadership confrence
High school students participating in breakout session at leadership conference

More than 120 Schuylerville High School students are learning how to lead positive change in their school after attending the school’s third annual Student Leadership Conference on Tuesday, Nov. 15. During a keynote address, presenters from Sweethearts and Heroes spoke to students about the importance of empathy as it relates to leadership.

“No one took it as a joke,” sophomore Jillian Liebowitz said. “We were all into it and actually wanted to learn.”

Students listening to Rick Yarosh, a retired U.S. Army sergeant injured in Iraq, who suffered burns over most of his body
Students listening to Rick Yarosh, a retired U.S. Army sergeant injured in Iraq, who suffered burns over most of his body

Following the keynote address, students broke off into groups, attending four breakout sessions that explored the impact of personal connections, brain development, fear and anxiety, and vulnerability on empathetic leadership.

“It was really inspirational,” sophomore Violet Smith said. “The energy was nice. The speakers were so intriguing and their stories were interesting.”

“The evening was a great success,” Principal Matthew Sickles said. “The students left with new perspectives on leadership and concrete strategies for continuing to make their school a great place to learn.”

Sickles would like to thank the High School Building Team for sponsoring the event and the many teachers, counselors, support staff, parents, administrators, and community members who volunteered their time to make the event possible.