Wedged between the awkward transition from middle to high school, underclassmen are not given as many opportunities to thrive as leaders at school and in the community. This discourages them from exhibiting the drive and confidence, which characterize a leader in the first place; however, Student Leadership Johns Creek was that outlet for me. Eager to find an extracurricular activity to enhance my then amateur leadership skills, I applied to SLJC my freshman year hoping to expand my expertise on leadership; yet what I gained was an experience of a lifetime, aiding me in not only refining my communication and leadership skills, but also in building a professional platform, inspiring me to pursue careers otherwise unfathomable without my newfound confidence gained from SLJC. Along with the fun teambuilding activities and the informational leadership curricula taught at each program date, SLJC has provided me with several experiences preparing me to face future ambitions as a leader. In just our first year, we were assigned a project to teach leadership skills to our assigned elementary schools. Our group was assigned to Shakerag Elementary School, and, working closely with the counselor, we were given the privilege to mentor a group of truly exceptional children. They all carried themselves with an admirable sense of character. Their genuine interest and excitement in working with us motivated me as a team leader to ensure progress in our time working with them. I walked out of this experience learning more than I felt I had taught because of the teamwork required between the mentors and mentees and the sheer weight of having the ability to affect these students’ lives.
The second year of SLJC focused more on creating a professional presence, both online and through the mentorship of professional in our respective fields of interest. High school students like myself often overlook the importance of building a professional online presence, but SLJC has taught me the importance of maintaining a reputation throughout all mediums.
From something as mundane yet universally relevant as a resume, to other more technologically involved mediums such as a personal website, my professional outlook and reputation transformed under the mentorship of successful individuals accustomed to the significance of an online presence in their own respective fields. With only three months left until graduation, SLJC is still presenting me with opportunities, including a shadowing project. We were given the privilege to shadow a professional in our field of interest, which I am looking forward to greatly, since there is no better way to experience a profession than to look to those who have already undergo the process.
Looking back at my past two years, without SLJC, I would have never found the confidence to pursue a career in journalism, which at one point appeared beyond my reach.
However, after writing my article for the SLJC newsletter, which was also the first article I have ever written, and receiving such encouraging feedback from Mrs. Sanders, I convinced myself to join our school’s newspaper publication. With all the opportunities the program has given me to support and contribute to my future endeavors, from the bottom of my heart, I must say thank you to the team for pouring their hearts and souls into constructing a program so accepting and so encouraging of high achievement among high school students. Thank you for not only teaching me leadership, but also for giving me opportunities to lead others, and ultimately lead myself to higher accomplishments and aspirations.