Thursday, December 8, 2011
Harris Fellows Host 7th Annual Leadership Conference
More than 350 CPS high school students came to DePaul University on Saturday, December 3, for the 7th Annual Harris Fellows Leadership Conference. The conference theme - Education: Shape Your Future; Shape Our Future - encouraged students to take control of their own education and use it to collaborate with others to build a better world.
Students found that the messages about college education are too frequently about winning the ability to make more money. Harris Fellows student leaders wanted to explore in more detail how post secondary education could lead to a different kind of fulfillment that creates a more just world and a deeper sense of personal fulfillment.
Throughout the conference, students participated in student-facilitated workshops that enabled them to identify and build on their own skills, passions, and fires, and then work together to create a different kind of a future based on the issues they cared most about.
Students were excited to attend the conference and were enthused about the workshops, opportunities to meet other student leaders, and the chance to have some fun during the lunch session which featured great music and dancing. One student reported she learned that "social networks are important and you have to feel comfortable in your own skin." Another said: "I built my confidence." Another said: "This [conference} should keep going on cause it's a good thing to inspire people."
The Harris Fellows Student Leadership Conference is unique in that it is conceived, planned, and implemented by student leaders. The adults take the back seat for the day. It was amazing to see the students plan out and facilitate their workshops and witness how favorably other students responded.
At the conference, four student leadership groups were recognized as members of the Harris Fellows Network: Phoenix Brotherhood, Foreman Peer Jury, Phoenix Sisterhood, and John Hope HS Brotherhood. Each of these organizations enables student leaders to make a real difference in the lives of fellow students at their schools.