Lessons in leadership
Nearly 300 eighth-grade students attended Fort Bend ISD’s Middle School PAL (Peer Assistance & Leadership) Conference, receiving knowledge and skills to secure their positions as student leaders. Held at Garcia Middle School, the annual event welcomed PAL students from 11 FBISD middle schools for an electrifying, fun-filled day of discovery, fellowship and team building.
The conference was presented by FBISD middle school PAL sponsors: Courtney Border (Sartartia), Katie Braucht (Bowie), Debbie Cooper (Sugar Land), Linda Flaxman (Baines), Shannon Gray (Fort Settlement), Susan Kainer (Hodges Bend), Tracy Kelly (First Colony), Josh McLain (Crockett), Melissa Mora (Garcia), Orlando Seriale (McAuliffe) and Elizabeth Strange (Dulles).
Returning this year as keynote speaker was Aric Bostick, renowned motivational speaker and success trainer. He joined high school PAL students in extending a high energy greeting to conference-goers in the form of a “high five” as they entered the school’s gym. With music blasting, he got students off their seats to join in the Shuffle and other group dances to get them moving. Once the music died down, Bostick reminded students of the purpose of the day, getting re-energized and committed to being a student leader.
“I want to offer you tips to take back to school to get your life fired up,” said Bostick. “Who wants to go back to their middle school and be the change agent for your school? Well, it starts with you. What holds most leaders back is their story and the baggage they carry around with them. Learn to let go of the baggage and to love you.”
Bostick used his own life as an example of how to overcome insecurities. “It took me years to get comfortable with my own story and even longer to let go to become the remarkable person I am today,” he said.
He then led students in various group activities to promote leadership and team building.
When asked how she enjoyed the conference, Hannah V. of Bowie Middle School commented, “It was really inspiring. Aric had many great ideas for us to use at our school.”
While the students were engaged in their leadership activities with Bostick, the middle school PAL sponsors were taking part in leadership workshops as well. The sponsors welcomed Katy Garza of ASSETS Academy and Kay Cole, FBISD Educational Technology Specialist, who presented activities, resources and materials to support the sponsors’ PAL programs.