‘Values, emotions and beliefs that motivate you to take action.’ This is the core mission of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) organization, and exactly what three Sleepy Hollow High School (SHHS) students now have a goal of accomplishing. Maya Batheja, Tara Klami and Emily Orellana participated in the HOBY New York State seminar June 3-5th at Adelphia University. Sophomores from all over the state gathered to explore their leadership potential, and in the process become galvanized to go out into the world and become change-makers.
“Our HOBY experience was outstanding” Maya, Tara and Emily chanted in unison discussing their collective experience. All three students repeated that the entire weekend was both uplifting and motivating. “There was so much cheering, and it was fun – different kids from different schools in different parts of New York all talking about what they do has really inspired me to do more,” said Emily.
At the conference, the students were broken up into teams. The student teams participated in interactive games, team building exercises and challenges all designed to develop communication and leadership skills. The students left understanding the best type of volunteerism is just like the proverb “give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
SHHS principal Debbie Brand, suggested the HOBY program and the TUFSD Foundation funded the opportunity for SHHS students. “One of the reasons I pushed for it here was because students come back from the HOBY conference feeling transformed and inspired,” said Brand. At Brand’s prior school, “students began initiatives in the school and/or community, many of which outlasted their time in school. I am hoping that the students at Sleepy Hollow will also be able to take advantage of this opportunity to learn leadership skills and to feel empowered to make change in our community.”
After the participating in the seminar the students are HOBY alumni and are challenged to apply their newly built leadership skills to complete 100 community service hours over the next year. Maya, Tara, and Emily are all up to the task as all three students loved their experience so much that they have decided to apply to be Junior Counselors for next year’s seminar.
CAPTION: (L-to-R): Tara Klami, Maya Batheja and Emily Orellana (Photo supplied).