Youths from schools across southern Alberta were in Lethbridge on Wednesday for a student leadership conference.
Each student had the opportunity to present in front of their peers, attend breakout sessions, sing songs, play games and make connections to aid in their leadership success.
The theme this year was “Look Outside Ourselves — Act Inside Our Circle of Influence.”
Event organizers said the sixth annual conference is proof of the success seen by instructors and administration in area schools.
“What we’re hoping to achieve is to empower students to act within their circle of influence to change their world, one person at a time, within their schools,” said Jason Kuprey, the director of learning for Palliser Schools.
“We want to empower students to be the leaders at the conference as well, so we have them doing breakout groups and sessions. We have courageous groups of kids leading their peers in lessons of life and leadership.”
The event previously focused only on Palliser Regional Schools but has since branched out to welcome students from cities and towns in the greater Lethbridge area, reaching as far as Calgary.
“We’ve seen it grow from 150 students to close to 700 now,” Kuprey said.
“I think there are seven or so school divisions represented here.”
Cody Toone, vice principal of Cardston High School, said he sees the difference it can make for students from smaller towns.
“One of the things I think they get to see is that even though they come from a small school, they have a voice that is heard and other kids in there are listening to them and engaging in their presentations.”
Reid Decillia, a Grade 8 G.S. Lakie Middle School student, said he enjoyed meeting new friends during his first time at the conference.
“We all come together from all over southern Alberta and have a big day for leadership, talking about what we’ve done,” Decillia said.
“We all get to learn little things that we can bring back to our schools and hopefully implement.”