Maggie Llewellyn is in British Columbia honing her leadership skills so she can make her school and community a better place.
So are her Middleton Regional High School classmates Rebekah Wade, Lauren Young, and Rebecca Burbidge. Teacher Suzanne Greenlaw couldn’t be more proud and Middleton Lions Club President George Gould said helping fund the trip was an investment in the future.
The students are in Abbotsford for the Canadian Student Leadership Conference Sept. 24 to 28 with some big-name speakers like Mike Smith, Spencer West, Olympian Heather Moyse, and Canadian humanitarian hero Romeo Dallaire.
Greenlaw said students went to the national conference when it was in Halifax several years ago. “We wanted to see what it was about because it cost a lot of money to travel,” she said. She described it as inspiring and motivational for the students. She hopes takeaways from the Abbotsford conference will help boost school spirit and school culture at MRHS, and help show how to make the school a better place. She said that’s why it’s important to develop leaders.
Greenlaw said students need to know how to plan events and activities. At the conference they’ll learn some tools and tricks and techniques.
She said leadership skills are also important outside of school. “So that they are their own person and they’re comfortable with who they are in terms of what they stand up for,” she said. “This offers the opportunity for them to try something new.”
Gould, Middleton Lions president, noted that the club’s motto is ‘We Serve.’
“We’re active with most any project with the youth,” he said. “Hopefully someday we’ll recruit some of them to become Lions.”
He believes a leadership conference is important.
“Most definitely,” he said. “These kids are our future. We invest in the kids. There have been several from the school that have gone to other functions that we’ve supported and we’ll continue to support them.”
Wade is the school council’s treasurer.
“I was very excited to have the opportunity,” she said. “We come from a very small town and to go and bring small town perspectives to a larger community is something we can all do really well at, as well as come home with a bigger perspective of the world.”
Young is student council secretary and has always been interested in leadership.
“I like taking roles where I can do all sorts of things,” she said. “I’ve always been more on the shy side, so I’ve enjoyed taking leadership roles. But for me it’s more about getting out of my bubble and stepping up to take those roles.”
She’s going to take some of what she learns in BC and apply it at MRHS and also in planning the school’s own leadership conference. “There’s a conference between four schools – West King, Middleton, Bridgetown, and AWEC,” she said.
Burbidge is also on council.
“I really want to learn how to benefit the school more,” she said. “Change the school for the better -- school spirit and really just leadership in general.”
“I’ve always somewhat considered myself as a leader, so going out to this conference I expect to grow more as a leader and learn more – and be able to bring back that leadership to my school and to my community,” Llewellyn said. “I’d like to take the initiative to teach other people how to be a leader.”
She thinks being a leader in school translates to being a leader in your community.
“The school’s a big part of our community, being so small, and I think that if you can be a leader in your school you can definitely take that out into the rest of the community,” she said.