Regional Student Council Conference at Red Lion Inspires Students to “Find Leadership”

Red Lion hosted a regional student council conference this Friday to build leadership skills and strengthen interpersonal communication for advisors and students. 

“We struggled at the beginning,” student council president and conference co-chair Mackenzie Zagroba said. “I’m not going to lie. But you know, it worked out. I’m so proud.”

Under the leadership of Mrs. Jane Dennish, Red Lion student council members started planning this conference at the beginning of the school year. 

Zagroba was grateful that Mrs. Dennish had experience planning Regional, District, and State conferences in the past. 

“She’s definitely hard on us,” Zagroba said, “but it’s all for the best because she wants everything to be perfect.” 

Students from across the region attend a workshop. They smile while playing an icebreaker where they have to say each other’s names while throwing a ball around a circle.

Various student council members held committee head positions. As a committee head, Kayla Tracey planned workshops and chose student speakers to lead different sessions. 

“Our committee heads have definitely stepped up and took their role seriously,” Zagroba said. 

Over 300 students from neighboring counties registered for the event to attend informational sessions and participate in an escape room centered around the theme “finding leadership.” 

Top Picture: Advisors and students listen intently to Ms. Dana Schmidt as she gives an opening address at the conference. Ms. Schmidt spoke about how making decisions as a leader can be difficult.
Bottom Picture: Students smile as the madrigal choir performs their version of The Spice Girls’ Wannabe.

Students elaborated on their particular high points of the day. Emma Bernard from Eastern Lancaster County (ELCO) School District enjoyed her session “on different styles of leadership. We did an impromptu speech. That was really fun.”

Smiling throughout the day, Bernard and her friends especially enjoyed the professional keynote speaker, Chris Seifert. 

Bernard said she learned a lot about leadership from Mr. Seifert. “He was really entertaining,” Bernard said. “I really liked listening to him.”

Bernard enjoyed the message Mr. Seifert expressed. In his speech, Mr. Seifert spoke about being a leader in everyday situations.

“It completely changed my life because one person turned around, saw something in me, and said ‘You should pursue this,’” Mr. Seifert said. “There are small ways that we lead every single day.” 

Mr. Seifert suggested smiling at students walking in the hallway or volunteering in your community has an impactful effect. 

Bernard took this to heart and built connections with students from different schools throughout the day. 

After planning this conference for a year, the outcome pleased Mackenzie Zagroba and her co-chair Evvie Wilbur. “It was an eye opening experience,” Zagroba said, “especially because there hasn’t been a conference because of the pandemic in the last few years.”

Excited to be speaking to a crowd of eager young leaders, Mr. Seifert closed his speech encouraging each student to help each other in little ways. 

“If these last two years have taught us anything,” Mr. Seifert said, “it’s that we’re much better together than we are apart.”

By Shana Carey


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