Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook at 19.
Steve Jobs started Apple at 21.
Bill Gates launched Microsoft in his 20’s.
While research varies regarding the ideal age to launch a business, the innovations coming out of tech companies and Silicon Valley have certainly given encouragement to young people with business acumen. This year, a national organization known for fostering entrepreneurial skills in school-age students, is offering that encouragement and coaching to Baton Rouge’s future business leaders.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge (YEA BR) recently announced its inaugural class of 26 students representing 14 schools and one home school. Three Episcopal students were selected as a part of the class – Abhay Basireddy, Akshay Basireddy and Charlie Roth. YEA BR Chair and Episcopal parent and alumna Deborah Sternberg ’90 says this is an incredible opportunity for these young people.
The national Young Entrepreneurs Academy was founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester in New York. Since then, the organization has expanded to include more than 100 locations in America and additional sites in India and China. Sternberg says YEA has 9,000 graduates operating 6,000 student-run businesses.
Sternberg, whose son Charlie Roth is a member of this year’s YEA BR class, says the idea to begin such a program locally has an interesting Episcopal connection. When Charlie was in fourth grade here at Episcopal he participated in a shark tank type of event, featuring guest speaker and LSU Innovation Park Executive Director Charles D’Agostino. Sternberg recalls that when D’Agostino asked if the group had any questions her own son raised his hand and simply asked for D’Agostino’s business card. At the time, young Charlie said he had several business ideas to run by the business veteran. This simple act sparked a thought in Sternberg. “Why wait until college to determine a child’s business interest?”
As a sophomore, Charlie Roth is excited to explore his entrepreneurial aspirations and to take advantage of the opportunities the YEA BR program has to offer. When thinking about the opportunity before him his face lights up as he reflects on the reality of starting a business in high school. He says the reality of the experience is what gets him most excited when he thinks about pitching his ideas to real people with real money. And just like his fourth grade self, he still has numerous ideas in mind to start a successful venture.
Charlie’s classmate Akshay Basireddy shares that enthusiasm. Basireddy was one of only three eighth graders accepted into this year’s class. While initially that thought made him nervous, he quickly realized that he was selected for a reason. He says the first day of the class he was able to offer helpful ideas that others had not considered. After being able to make an impact on the first day, he is looking forward to learning from the guest speakers, using the LSU resources and meeting with investors.
Akshay’s brother Abhay Basireddy was also selected for the inaugural YEA BR class. He says he is curious and eager to know more about the aspects of being an entrepreneur. “It is really exciting,” he says. “It brings together a community of people with their own business ideas.” Like Charlie and Akshay, Abhay says he has a few business ideas already in mind.
Here at Episcopal, students with business savvy have a range of opportunities and resources to help them achieve their dreams. Upper School teacher Vincent Hoang teaches two entrepreneurial studies courses in which students learn the principles of business. New this year, students have an opportunity to actually use the theories they learned in the classroom in a NuVu Episcopal Design Studio experience.
“The strength of the course is that they’re learning real life applications of business skills and they can fail without being penalized,” says Hoang. Hoang, who reminds students that WD40 earned its name because the developer tried 39 times before getting it right, says failure is a part of the entrepreneurial process. He says like the business development process, the Episcopal courses are a journey that helps students learn more about themselves as they continue to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will benefit them in all aspects of life.
The Tradition of Entrepreneurship
Episcopal students have a history of success when it comes to business endeavors. Current students can simply look back at the stories of successful alumni as examples of making a dream a reality. Just a few examples of successful Episcopal business men and women, entrepreneurs or graduates who have been in the news recently include:
With the school and community opportunities available to Episcopal students, there is no limit to what students can achieve. Congratulations to this year’s YEA BR participants!
We often struggle to find the right balance of protection and independence when it comes to our teenagers. The nineties saw the rise of the “helicopter parent,” hovering over their child. This has evolved to the “lawn mower parent,” swooping in and “mowing over” any adversity or struggle their child may face. While this is well-intentioned, loving and motivated parents can inadvertently stunt the growth of adolescent independence by stepping in and “helping” each time their teen is in need. Parents often struggle with how much support is too much. Should I bring my tween their missing homework? Should I let my teen attend that late night party? Striking the right balance of protection and independence requires thoughtful consideration and knowledge of your individual child. How do parents navigate the tween and teens years? How much independence is the “right” amount? Here are some suggestions for knowing when to step in and when to let go.
As part of healthy development, adolescents become more peer-focused beginning around middle school. This also means that they rely less on adult guidance. Rather than parent facilitated “play dates,” adolescents make their own plans - movie nights, mall outings, sleepovers, concerts, dances, parties. These are all common activities for teens. Some ways you can foster social independence while also considering your child’s safety include:
As children approach middle school, teachers often encourage parents to step back and allow the student to take charge of her school work more independently. Parents should carefully consider how to empower their children to allow them to feel successful in school. Some ways you can foster independence academically include:
While many adolescents have a full schedule with school and extracurricular activities, it’s important for them to gain an awareness of their ability to contribute to their family and community. Being responsible to another adult, through a task such as mowing lawns, babysitting, or a summer job, empowers teens to feel competent. Some ways you can foster independence with work skills are:
Watching your child develop into a competent and confident adolescent is a rewarding experience. Episcopal’s mission includes preparing our students for “purposeful lives”. By motivating and encouraging responsible independence, parents and educators can partner together to help all of our students meet their full potential.
National Physicians Center for Families: Building Independence in Adolescents
Psychology Today: Teaching your Adolescent Independence
USA Today: Meet the ‘lawnmower parent,’ the new helicopter parents of 2018
Self-Sufficient Kids: 7 Ways Parents can Encourage Teens to be Self-Sufficient
Mark your calendar for the next Lunch and Learn with the Episcopal counselors.
Thursday, October 25th
11 am - 1 pm
The discussion will be based on the book UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All About Me World by Michele Borba. You do not need to have read the book to attend. Please RSVP to your division counselor.
Alicia has served as a School Counselor at Episcopal since 2001. As the Middle School Counselor, she has a passion for helping pre-adolescents reach their potential, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Alicia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s in Health Sciences- Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a Certified School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor.
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. — Adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren C. Eiseley
Students and staff members from the Kliptown Youth Program (KYP) in South Africa recently shared this powerful message of connection and service to others, and hope for the future with Episcopal students. KYP was founded in 2007 by a small group of young people dedicated to making a difference in their community by eliminating obstacles to education. KYP offers support for school fees and uniforms and provides access to a range of resources including after school tutoring and technology.
The KYP founders are guided by the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which means “I am what I am because of who we all are.” With this guiding principle, the group has seen tremendous success in just 11 years:
The group’s story has resonated around the world. Kliptown Program Executive Director Thulani Madando was recognized among the CNN Heroes for the group’s commitment and work. KYP Gumboot dancers, who provide audiences a glimpse of the Kliptown culture through their performances, have been invited to perform internationally.
The recent visit to Episcopal and Baton Rouge was made possible by the Reilly family and City Year Baton Rouge, an education-focused nonprofit dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. Junior Rowan Reilly, who has volunteered in South Africa, shared more about his own personal connections to the KYP group with Upper School students during a special Chapel service. KYP students and staff performed Gumboot dances, taught dance students the steps involved and even had lunch with students in Webster Refectory.
“The students were treated to a global experience right here on our campus. The excitement seemed to grow as the morning went along, culminating with a standing ovation for the KYP delegation and a standing room only meeting in the Alumni House,” said Episcopal Chaplain Skully Knight. Upper School students gathered with the students and leaders from KYP to talk about the potential ways in which Episcopal can stay connected with them and their work. Examples discussed included online tutoring and reading work, connecting with other schools in the United States that already work with KYP and even the possibility of traveling to South Africa in the future.
To learn more about the Kliptown Youth Program, click here.
To read more about members of the Gumboot Dance Team click here and here.
Episcopal first graders just completed a mini-triathlon. This is quite an accomplishment for six and seven year olds! Students swam a lap in the pool, pedaled a distance on their bike and finished up with a run. The annual Healthy Selves Triathlon is the culmination of a larger, project-based unit on what it means to be healthy.
Similar to triathletes, students learned about proper nutrition. The Healthy Selves unit introduced them to the concepts of making healthy food choices, creating healthy snacks and smoothies and even growing their own lettuce. To make the experience even more fun, students used brightly colored bracelets to track and celebrate their healthy food choices.
Students also learned more about what it means to be fit. These tiny triathletes learned more about exercise safety and helpful stretches for strengthening muscles. In addition, they learned how to care for their body with a range of tips including how to prevent the spread of germs, how to properly care for their skin and how to care for a bleeding nose.
The entire Healthy Selves unit is possible because of the support and strength of the Episcopal community. A range of faculty, staff, coaches and parents donated their time and expertise to make the project a meaningful experience for students. On triathlon day, that support was truly felt as students from throughout the Lower School lined the fence, the path and the sidewalks to cheer on their classmates and encourage them to complete the course.
Reaching the finish line of the Healthy Selves Triathlon was truly a team victory for all of Episcopal!
Narrowing the list of schools you are interested in applying to for your child can be an overwhelming task. Once you have completed your research, contacted each school’s Admission Office and completed the campus tour, you are faced with the next task: completing each school’s admission application process. Not to worry - here at Episcopal, admission staff members are only a phone call or email away and stand ready to walk alongside you throughout the application process.
Each year prospective parents ask a myriad of questions related to their child’s consideration for admission. Primarily questions relate to their child’s school visit to the school: what can we expect and what should we do to prepare our child? Regardless of the age or grade of your child, there is a shared purpose of his or her admission visit: this on-campus experience is intended to help us get to better know your child while giving you and your child the opportunity to get to know us better.
Below you will find specific details related to the Episcopal campus visit along with general admission visit tips. To help your child prepare for his or her time on campus, we invite you to share as much - or as little - of the information as you see fit. You know your child best, so follow your parental instinct as you help prepare your child for the visit.
A few general tips for your child's school admission visit:
What can your child expect during his or her Episcopal admission visit? See below our summary of the applicant visit process for prospective students:
PreK-3, PreK-4 and Kindergarten Screenings
1st through 5th Grade Screenings
Admission Testing Grades 6-12
Shadow Day Grades 6-12
To learn more about the Episcopal admissions process, contact a member of our Admission Team.
It is beginning to look a lot like fall at Episcopal!
The PreK-4 costume shop is now open! Students recently explored this new fall-inspired learning station. Our youngest Knights typically love the opportunity to play dress up and this time of year offers them a range of options for creative play.
Lower School artists explored the colors of fall. Members of the Art After School group learned more about mixing colors as they used acrylic paint to create fall foliage. First graders tried their hand at fall art and drafted poems dedicated to the change of the season.
It is 11:00 pm in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I am surrounded by around fifty girls I have never met in my life who are from all around the state. We sit in the hot, humid Louisiana air listening to our counselors tell us what tasks await us for day two of the program. Surrounded by unfamiliarity and fear of what this next week holds for me, I finally see a familiar face. We meet our “Parish Counselor” who just so happens to be Episcopal Alumni Mary Beth Barksdale (2016 graduate and all around rock star). I think to myself, “Thank goodness! Someone to tell me what the chaos of the week has in store for me.” Alas, the first words I hear out of her mouth are, “Okay everyone, tomorrow you will be running for one of the offices in your booklet. Write a speech tonight, and be prepared to give it in front of your Parish girls tomorrow.”
Not only was this a bit of a shock to hear on my first night at Louisiana Girls State, but the task in and of itself seemed daunting. I have never been the person with the biggest voice in the room; in fact, I’ve never been the one with the biggest stature either. At a mere five feet, I don’t exactly command a room on first glance. I often find myself in a state of observation, sometimes unable to share my thoughts and opinions during debate or discussion due to my fear of being shut down by others. Knowing this, my first night at Girls State was challenging. I found myself sitting in my dorm room with my roommate trying to come up with a speech that would entice my other Parish girls to vote for me. Nevertheless, I suppressed my fears and pushed on writing my speech. The next day, I mustered up the courage to give my speech, and to my surprise, my peers seemed to like it. I ended up getting enough votes to win the office I ran for. As Girls State continued, more tasks and more opportunities presented themselves, including more public speeches. It was tempting to worry about the possibility of failure, but Mary Beth continuously challenged me to see these as chances to take a risk, as our theatre director Paige Gagliano also teaches us during musical rehearsals at Episcopal. At Girls State I didn’t ultimately get elected to the State position as treasurer, but I wasn’t discouraged. I had the support of my sisters, and I felt empowered by all the women that surrounded me during that week. After this experience, I was truly inspired to make change in my school community by reaching out, taking risks, and by seeking mentors to help me along in the process.
Because Louisiana Girls State fostered confidence within me, I have started taking even more healthy risks in my daily life and looking for these same kinds of confident women here at Episcopal to carry on this legacy of inspiration. I now look to people like Christine Chrest, my thesis advisor, dance teacher, and overall confidant here at Episcopal. She, as the powerful and creative genius that she is, challenges me to experiment with new varieties of dance, take on new styles of choreography, and pushes me to make my writing and work the best it possibly can be. She has not only pushed me as an academic and dancer, but as a person in general. I strive to affect others in the way she has inspired me by helping choreograph Episcopal’s Lower and Middle School musical productions. Although this job has put me in a position to be a role model for younger students, I am not intimidated by the task as I once would have been. In teaching these students, I hope to have even a fraction of the impact on the cast as my mentors have had on me.
If I have learned anything from these experiences, it is that leadership can take place in the littlest of events. Leadership and empowerment are not always expressed as an enlightening speech on a stage or a call to action made by a public figure on the television. It can come from events that you didn’t even expect would make an impact on you. Therefore, it is because of these experiences and connections with people like Mary Beth Barskdale, Paige Gagliano, Christine Chrest, and various other strong women that I have become a more confident and empowered woman who aspires to make change in my community. I have suppressed my fear of speaking out and being shut down, and have allowed myself to be the strong voice in a room.
Madeleine Cope is a creative Episcopal senior. She is a passionate dancer and a member of the Episcopal Dance Ensemble. She is combining her love of dance with her writing talents as an Honors Thesis student examining the benefits of implementing dance programs at schools. Madeleine is also actively involved in Episcopal theater productions and acts as a co-choreographer for Episcopal’s Lower and Middle School musical productions.
"True champions aren't always the ones that win, but those with the most guts." Mia Hamm, Olympic Gold Medalist, FIFA Women's World Cup Champion - Soccer
Sitting in the Episcopal athletic department surrounded by the female coaches you get a sense of guts, grit and family. Madeline Gugich, Heidi Hebert, Taylor Mims and Brenna Perez are the real deal. They are 100% committed to team success and, if possible, even more committed to the individual players who wear the numbers that make up their teams.
Deep inside these women, the young girl who loved sports still thrives. Looking back on their time as competitors the coaches list a range of benefits associated with sports. “Being an athlete made me feel like there was nothing I couldn’t do,” said Coach Perez. “I learned how to achieve my goals and the value of having something to work toward,” said Coach Hebert.
Research proves the coaches right. According to “The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls,” there are significant benefits for female athletes, including the following:
Female athletes at Episcopal have a range of sports in which to compete and the benefit of being able to play in multiple sports in a single school year. Since 1990, 29 outstanding female athletes have earned the Episcopal Female Athlete of the Year Award, which has been known as the Annslee Laura Phillips Memorial Award since 2000. Award recipients have continued to develop their athletic abilities even after graduation. Meghan O’Leary, the 2003 award recipient, went on to compete in the 2016 Olympic games as a member of the US rowing team. Other recipients, such as April Brown and Bria Johnson, went on to successful college athletic careers. Coach Mims, who received the award in 2009, even returned home to Episcopal to inspire other female athletes in the same way she was inspired years ago.
coaches, pressure and everything that goes with it, are just part of who they are and adding “athlete” to that simply takes it to the next level. “Put that number on your back and you’re a totally different person,” says Hebert.
Life as a coach is intense. “We don’t just coach the sport. We coach the life lesson,” says Gugich. Gugich says a good coach is a motivator who inspires athletes to achieve in everything they do. She says she aspires to teach her athletes the killer instinct needed to compete and to persevere. For Coach Mims, it is important that her athletes learn to fail well. “We fear failure and we have to get students past that,” she says. “I teach athletes to fail in practice and that it is OK because you get better by making errors.”
The coaches admit that team sports were different when they were in the game. “There are more opportunities available now for women,” says Perez, who actually grew up playing on a boys team because the opportunities at the time were scarce for women. “I hope they realize the opportunities out there for them and that they are capable of doing anything they want to do,” says Hebert.
Despite the long hours, having to wear their baby on their hip while they run drills and the demands of mothering a team, this group of amazing women would not have it any other way.
“Once an athlete, always an athlete,” says Perez, with unanimous agreement from the others.
Regardless of career pursuits and life aspirations, one thing is certain. The support and strength female athletes gain as a member of a team serves them well throughout their lives. Like the coaches who support them, Episcopal female athletes have guts, grit and a sense of family.
Alumni Reflect on a Coach's Influence
A coach is like a second mother to female athletes. The lessons learned through athletics influence a player for their entire life. Here is a look at what Episcopal graduates remember about their favorite coaches.
Episcopal athletics WAS high school. I was lucky enough to play volleyball for Coach Mansur and Coach Price for 4 years. No where else could I have experienced bus breakdowns, across the spectrum teen girl personalities and the shenanigans that go along with them, being State Runner-Ups, and having a Coach of the Year all in one! Mostly ups, a few downs, and memories that I still hold dear as some of the best ever! I cannot thank Episcopal, Coach Mansur, and Coach Price enough for giving me those!
Anna Hackler Wall
Class of 1996
My softball coach at Episcopal High School helped shape me into the person I am today. Coach Heidi Hebert was not only my coach throughout the years, she was a second mother to me. She truly helped me through every pitch of every game, and also every event life threw my way. I am truly thankful that our lives crossed paths through EHS athletics!
Class of 2014
Episcopal Athletics taught me that winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. When I look back on my time at Episcopal, I remember many things. I remember locker room talks before running out to “pepper” on the volleyball court, and our bus ride dance party on the way to the Pontchartrain Center for the state tournament. I remember trapping a ground ball out to left field with my foot during my first softball game, and I remember playing drums on the turned over white buckets in the dugout with all of my best friends. I remember hours of soccer practice behind the football field, and sweaty, smelly yellow pennies that coach claims she washed. I remember half time talks where we were losing 3-0 and planning the major comeback, and I remember the dreadfully early 6am warm-ups in the 50 degree weather at Lafreniere Park. But most importantly, I remember the final whistle. Because of my coaches, I have learned that not only in the games, but in life, you must always play to the final whistle. Because of Episcopal Athletics, I am determined to be better for something bigger than myself, and I remember Episcopal Athletics as the biggest building block to my high school successes, and career endeavors. Having the opportunity to give Episcopal athletes what my coaches gave to me, and being able to share my experiences and knowledge with students that also want to be apart of something more than just the game, is why I’m happy to forever be an Episcopal Knight.
Class of 2016
I was born around sports and grew up loving them. Being a coach’s daughter at Episcopal wasn’t the easiest, but the Episcopal coaches became a second family. From playing sports, I learned that winning is not everything. Though it is what you want the most, that’s not always the case at a school like ours. What’s most important is the friendships and family built on a team. Each year in high school, being on a team became more and more important to me because I was one year closer to never having a close feeling like that again. The Episcopal coaches care more about who you surround yourself with and your own well being before your win-loss record. At the end of the day, I don’t remember the score to any regular season game. I remember the feeling of winning the softball district championship my senior year playing with my sister, and I remember the final out of the playoff game knowing I was never going to play the sport of softball again. The Episcopal coaches taught me to have such a passion for sports. Episcopal athletics has shaped me into a better person. Without it, Episcopal would have been different for me. I will never forget the coaches who have taught me lifelong lessons and I will never forget the valuable memories made on the field, on the court, and off.
Class of 2018
Episcopal coaches will soon have a new Athletic Field House in which to work. To learn more about the project click here.
The annual Fall All School Student Art Show is now on display in the VPAC lobby. The exhibition features students in all three divisions and a variety of mediums. “The vitality of the art work displayed in the VPAC lobby for the 2018 All School Fall show from the three divisions is engaging and surprising,” says art teacher Kate Trepagnier. Trepagnier and art teachers Caroline Hagan and Russell Roper hope members of the Episcopal community will stop by and enjoy the creativity on display.
Episcopal students enjoy a wide range of artistic opportunities. Students can explore painting, drawing, photography, pottery, sculpture, mixed media and digital arts. Such diversity of choice in the arts is a key component of an Episcopal education and a necessary complement to the learning taking place in the traditional classroom.
Project-Based Learning in the Arts
According to the National Art Education Association (NAEA), the arts teach students that problems may have more than one solution and that varying perspectives should be celebrated. Art encourages critical thinking skills that have significant application to more traditional classroom subjects. Roper says art projects truly are a project-based learning experience.
One example of a project-based art experience is taking place in Roper’s Upper School Sculpture class. Students are tasked with determining what type of monument they would erect on Episcopal’s campus. To really get students thinking, Roper tasks students with completing a monument application similar to what a city council might require. Once students determine their theme, they conduct a site analysis, an elevation plan and a financial estimate for the project. After the planning process is complete, students construct a model of the monument using the best media for their design. In the end, students have a complete proposal that required significant research, planning and analysis, in addition to artistic abilities.
Digital Art Opportunities
“The addition of digital imaging has expanded what we do,” says Roper. The Episcopal art teachers are veterans with a passion for sharing their craft. These artists and Episcopal have embraced new technologies and the new forms of art associated with them. Dianne Madden, who teaches digital design and photography classes, brings more traditional art forms into the digital age. Students in the Communication Design class created posters promoting the art show and eighth grade Digital Photography students have a number of their works on display. In addition, students in Roper’s eighth grade class worked on a series of assignments on animals using Photoshop to transform traditional drawings into digital recreations of the creatures as comic book superheroes. Another popular assignment among seventh graders is the study of themselves in a number of self portrait assignments. For the first nine weeks of school, students use their own image as their muse as they explored color theory using the Brushes app to create digital selfies. A sample of these digital selfies and superheroes are on display in the current exhibition.
Art as Expression
“Art develops critical and diverse thinkers by promoting the solving of open-ended questions. It is the goal of our program to set the groundwork for each student to appreciate art as the language of the soul,” says Hagan, who is guiding students through art projects connected to the Lower School Community Read of Wishtree. The Episcopal artistic process provides students numerous opportunities to express themselves. Roper says he often reminds students that “artists are meaning makers” as he helps them establish a title for their work based on what they are trying to convey. To determine a title, students are asked to reflect on their project, the revisions they have made and the journey they have experienced. These reflections are written down and used to help give insight into the final product.
The Fall All School Student Art Show will provide observers a glimpse inside the Episcopal artistic experience, with everything from PreK-4 watercolor pieces to Upper School AP student paintings. Large paper mache works exploring ice cream, French fries and pizza will be food for thought for visitors, while the digital selfies and sculptures should not be missed. The exhibit will be on display through the end of October.
Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the arts at Episcopal.
Episcopal junior John Honeycutt was selected as a candidate to represent Louisiana at the 2018 Hugh O’Brian Youth World Leadership Congress in Chicago. The Louisiana Senate commended Honeycutt for his selection with Senate Resolution No.18 during the 2018 Third Extraordinary Session. As a sophomore, Honeycutt and fellow Episcopal student Dariah Deskins, were among 140 students selected to participate in the Louisiana Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program. Read below to learn more about what Honeycutt has learned through these experiences.
A Path to Leadership.
My experience at HOBY Louisiana was extraordinary. The people I met, the lessons I learned, and the fun I had made the experience a memorable one. For around 140 students to come together from across the state and all get along and strive for a common goal is breathtaking. All of us wanted everyone to have the best time they could, but most specifically everyone wanted to become a better leader, that is what the experience was meant to do.
The lessons of varied speakers ranged far and wide from how to treat others, how to treat yourself, or simply how to make everyday life easier. For example, in one presentation we learned how to set goals. Not just any goals but achievable, measurable, and smart goals.
In another presentation, we learned how there are three parts to every social reaction.
Along with all of the lessons I learned, I met some amazing people. Many people that I met there I still talk to regularly. In fact, my Faculty Advisor is going to come to watch me run at one of my cross country meets soon. Everyone at HOBY wanted to have a good time; you could feel it in the atmosphere. It was one of the most welcoming things I have ever taken part in. For example, throughout the course of the weekend, we would do these songs where everyone would get up and dance and participate. The first few times may have lacked some participation, but at the end, we all warmed up to the idea and were screaming our hearts out.
Finally, I want to touch on the fun I had. Just meeting all of the other high school students there was amazing. Hanging out with fellow high school sophomores and discussing extremely pressing problems, deep topics, or just general everyday stuff was a blessing. Also, at the end of the last day of HOBY, we had a dance. This was no ordinary dance; most everybody danced and had a fantastic time. No one made it awkward to be yourself. It was a freeing experience.
Lastly, I want to state the main lesson I learned from HOBY. That lesson is to Be Who You Are Where You Are. This quote teaches an important lesson and has lots of meaning in a few words. First, it tells the commonly heard lesson for people to be who they are, but more specifically it states “where you are.” This where tells us two things. First, it tells us to be yourself wherever you are, and secondly, it tells us that it is okay to have a dynamic identity. People act differently around different people. Not everyone has one way that they act. This lesson is one that will stay with me for a long time.
John Honeycutt is an Episcopal junior. John was recognized by the Louisiana State Senate for being selected as a candidate to represent Louisiana at the Hugh O'Brian World Leadership Congress. As a sophomore, John attended the Louisiana Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Program.