Category Archives: Year-Round Opportunities

YAS (You Are Special) for schools on Facebook!

YAS is taking on Facebook in a new way! Each interested school is getting own YAS Facebook page! People can send in YAS notes anonymously or with their name on the virtual note. Then, the administrator of the page (either me or someone from your school who is interested) will post the virtual note on the Facebook page. The page will be filled with YAS messages! Feel free to comment on YAS messages or just take pleasure in the kind words of your peers.

For more information, commment or email If you would like to be an administrator on your school’s YAS page, let me know in the comment/email.


Fulfilling a Long-Term Goal

I can’t believe I’m going back. The joy of returning to Pilar, Argentina took even me by surprise. After our exchange trip with our school for two weeks at the end of the school year, we all fell in love with the people and culture of Argentina. Even I couldn’t believe the words that came out of my mouth when I told my Argentinian friends over Skype that I would be returning to visit them at the end of May. Sheer happiness engulfed my being.

Yes, I’m thrilled to go back, revisit all of my friends, to experience Argentinian culture for the second time, and to practice my Spanish, if you know me at all, you know that I can’t bring myself to go on a vacation without getting any sort of work done during the trip. I have always dreamed of doing my club activities at the North Hills School in Pilar, but after receiving a rejection for adding the club to their school on a regular basis, I thought this dream was gone. However, after emailing some of the teachers and headmasters about my upcoming visit, they gladly allowed me to do some of my club activities during one afternoon for the students in Secondary School. I was beyond thrilled to hear this.

Although I do not have much allotted time during the school day to perform club activities, I plan on doing whatever I can with the club while on my vacation. During the school day, students in Pilar have multiple short breaks and a break for lunch- granted, their school day goes from 8am to 5pm. I plan on completing as many creative projects as I can during my visit and will do my best to bring about talk of leadership during the school day. One of my best friends, Gaston, who was keen on starting and leading club activities at his school, is eager to help me with my independent studies regarding leadership in the Pilar and North Hills community. Although the entirety of this project is not complete yet, I am excited to see where this project takes me and how I can make the most of my visit.



Working Around Their Handicaps

The first activity in the first Leaders UNITE conference tuned out to be a bigger success than I expected. Well, that is partially because we altered the activity right before the students arrived. We were planning on just doing “A Leader Is… (Creativity Project)”, but one of my student ambassadors, Jonathan, had a better idea. “Why don’t we give each group a restriction? Like one group won’t be able to talk in their presentation, one group can only have two people talk, and the other needs everyone to talk.” I paused for a second. That was genius! The activity was so broad, and while that would be good in some situations, we would have already finished three discussions and lunch before the first activity. Being broad did not need to be a restriction. So we did it. We made Jonathan’s group unable to talk during their presentation (they could talk during the planning period, just not while presenting the final product), my group restricted to two students talking and everyone else participating in a non-verbal form, and Miriam and Julia’s group restricted so that every member of their group had to speak during the presentation. And I had to admit, I did not expect the results that were formed. They were even more creative than I could have imagined. Here were some of the highlights:

In Julia and Miriam’s group, the students wrote a poem together. The poem reflected qualities of a leader and how people can depend on the leader of a group. The final product was what astounded me. The students lined up in order, and each student recited one line from the poem. The poem was exactly long enough for each of them to recite a line. The finished product was beautiful, and well- executed. And did they work around their handicap and still produce an adequate product? Yes.

In Jonathan’s group, the students took the route that I expected- a skit. However, the skit they put together was simple, yet it got the message across more deliberately than a complex play. Some students, the bullies, began by throwing crumpled papers at one girl in the middle. However, two students came in from outside the classroom, dispersed the crowd, and helped the poor girl. The skit was short, yet it got the point across. Did they work around their handicap? Yes.

In my group, the students also went the route I expected- they performed a skit with two narrators and everyone else as actors. The narrators explained the scene as two math teachers taught the students how to multiply numbers together. The most extraordinary part of this presentation was that both of the students that volunteered to be narrators had not spoken once (unless directly called up) during the whole session. Both students said they felt more comfortable speaking than acting, and they quickly volunteered to speak during the presentation. Did this group work around their handicap? Yes.

All of the groups were astounding. Seeing 6th and 7th grade students use their creative abilities to push forward in the presence of an obstacle was quite a sight to see. The students were all proud of their final products, and all of them played an active role in its creation. This is one of the reasons I love these activities. They give everyone the opportunity to participate in some way, and the handicaps allowed students to use their creative abilities to make more than just a generic product.

First Conference- huge success!

The first Leaders UNITE Conference was a huge success! We thank everyone who attended the event for a day filled with fun, laughs, and leadership development. We would especially like to thank Benson Middle School for attending with students from their 6th and 7th grade class. During the event, students were placed in one of three groups, each with one student facilitator. Ivana moved from group to group during the discussions. The student facilitators did not lead the discussion, but instead helped guide the students to speak and to stay on topic. At the end of each discussion, students created a summary board with some of their key points of discussion and presented it to the whole class. Different students stood in front of the class and presented for each discussion. After the discussions, the students ate lunch and were assigned in new groups of three for the activities following lunch. Due to time constraints, students were only able to finish two of the three activities. However, the students enthusiastically completed the activities and performed the final products in front of the whole class. The results were amazing! Stay tuned for another post on the reflections/memorable moments from the conference!

We encourage everyone to attend future Leaders UNITE conferences and to contact us if you are interested in participating in another upcoming event.

Leadership in the Classroom

This is the first Leaders UNITE conference, and this will hopefully be the first of many. It will take place at Cary Academy in the lecture hall. This conference will consist of three discussions followed by three activities- all directly corresponding. The theme for this conference is leadership within the classroom, and the activities will be centered around ways we can improve leadership opportunities and student mindsets within a school environment. There will be students from a few schools across North Carolina attending the conference. Students will be split into discussion groups with students from different schools, and they will be split into a different group for the corresponding activities. If anyone else would like to join the conference, please contact us! There will be snacks and lunch provided during the conference. Hope to see you all there!