Conference training student leaders

By LINDA LONG / For the Reporter

How to be effective leaders will be on the minds of 300 of Shelby County’s brightest and best students on Sept. 25 when they gather at Valleydale Church for the second annual Student Leadership Conference. Those attending will represent every public high school in the county, both schools within the Shelby County School system as well as Alabaster, Pelham and Hoover high schools.

Created by Oak Mountain teacher and SGA sponsor John Milton along with several of his SGA students, the conference’s goal is to bring student representatives together from throughout the county to share ideas, learn about leadership qualities, then to take what they’ve learned back into their communities to make a difference.

Thirty students will be chosen from each school, but according to Milton, “We aren’t necessarily looking for the kids that already get sent to everything, those who have always get every accolade and award. This conference is about finding those students who have leadership potential that hasn’t yet been tapped into yet.

“This is totally student led,” said Milton. “You’re going to see high school students interacting with college students from every university around the state. It’s a really cool thing, this awesome high quality leadership conference led by students.”

As Milton explained, “the challenge of the conference really is to make sure we not only get them thinking about some leadership truths with as much training as they can get in one day, but also to make sure when they walk out, they are going home with materials and a plan to in hand to implement their own service projects in their own communities.”

Milton says he’s already seeing the fruits of his labo. Last year’s conference produced two leaders who are coming back to serve as moderators for the 2014 conference. They are Caroline Beauchaine now attending Auburn University and Bentley Maddox, a student at the University of Alabama. Billy Boughey, noted leadership communicator is the keynote speaker.

Other participants include, Randy Fuller, Dr. John Stewart, Dr. Leslie Brooks, McDavid Maddox, Audrey Crawford, and a videotaped address from Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.