The opportunity to demonstrate and foster leadership can be found in many places: the classroom, on athletic fields, around the community and beyond.
On July 22, high school seniors Abby Mollick of Chesapeake and Jake Marcus of Old Mill joined fellow seniors from across the country at the 2019 National Student Leadership Summit in Indianapolis.
As a part of the National Federation of State High School Associations, which serves more than 11 million students nationwide each year, the year's summit hosted students for three days of leadership training and contemporary discussions.
“This experience has really showed me that I am a leader,” Mollick said. “Even for someone who doesn't see themselves that way, they can turn that around.”
Mollick and Marcus are members of the Anne Arundel County Student Athlete Advisory Committee. The county's coordinator of athletics, Clayton Culp, first pitched the idea of the trip to the students.
“We felt like Abby and Jake would be great to represent the county,” Culp said.
Two students from Montgomery County public schools also represented Maryland at the summit. Students participated in numerous activities and workshops covering topics such as perspective and inclusion, and what makes a healthy team and environment for sports. They also held discussions about college and the future.
Attendees even had the opportunity to work with and learn from members of the Special Olympics teams at an Indiana high school. “It was really eye-opening to be with the Special Olympics athletes,” Mollick said.
A leader on the Old Mill football and baseball teams, Marcus particularly enjoyed a forum discussing leadership and its influence on others, as well as an activity designed to teach listening with a purpose. “It's really changed how I look at life,” Marcus said.
A three-sport student-athlete, Mollick enjoyed the chance to meet and work with so many new people. “A lot of the workshops were really interactive and you got to learn a lot about people,” she said.
Adrienne Bulinski, a 2006 Miss America contestant turned inspirational speaker, shared a story with the students detailing how her career in entertainment was hindered due to a horseback riding accident. Instead of letting the situation harm her life and career, she chose every day to look in the mirror and say, “It's going to be a good day.”
Marcus has taken this same task to heart and has already noticed a difference. “I try to do that every day now,” he said. “I've been having pretty good days recently.”
Both Mollick and Marcus plan to take these new leadership skills and relevant topics of discussion back to their schools and athletic teams.
“With my sports teams, I want to share a lot of the things from the workshops: building a healthy environment on the team and respecting each other,” Mollick said.
With fall sports underway in Anne Arundel County, Marcus is working to include all of his new teammates.
“I've been trying to include a lot of people and make them feel welcomed on the football team,” he said.