The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Juniors participate in state-wide leadership conference

November 8, 2015


Elizabeth Kupchella

Juniors spent the day learning about ways to improve their leadership skills.

Young people are told that taking on a leadership role is a key to success, but many are not privy to what traits are needed to be the next great leader. The skills it takes to direct a team of people are hard to discover and develop, but on Friday November 6, eight BSM juniors were invited to attend the Minnesota Student Leadership Seminar in Downtown Minneapolis. The goal of the seminar was to cultivate and recognize the leadership qualities they possess and those that they need to advance.

For over five years, BSM has sent students to the seminar along with dozens of schools around the Twin Cities. This year, juniors Maddie Turk, Elizabeth Kupchella, Lillian Smith, Andrea Ochoa, Sean McCullough, Zip Kaffey, Cyril Blake-Tene, and Gabe Trout were selected to attend the event. “It’s an annual leadership seminar here in the Twin Cities, and it was sponsored by the West Point Military Academy. They had about 12 West Point cadets who attended the seminar and were small group facilitators,” Guidance Counselor Mr. Fran Roby said.

We focused a lot on our values and zeroed in on what areas matter to us. It was helpful to visualize it instead of just thinking about it.,”

— Junior Elizabeth Kupchella

Every year, the seminar has a different keynote speaker, but all of the seminars highlight ethical leadership. “The keynote speaker gave an opening address, and they usually give three or four presentations throughout the day emphasizing different aspects of leadership. [The seminar] focused on how to make decisions as a leader that fit with your values,” Roby said.

The students who were selected to attend the leadership seminar are either already leaders in the BSM community, or show the ability to become great leaders. “I sent out an email to all the counselors and deans asking for recommendations of  juniors who are already exhibiting leadership in the school and those who seem to have leadership potential. I took all those names and looked at some academic factors, so what students are working hard and earning good grades,” Roby said.

For the students who went to the event, taking time to explore their beliefs and how to channel them into leadership skills was helpful. “We focused a lot on our values and zeroed in on what areas matter to us. It was helpful to visualize it instead of just thinking about it,” junior Elizabeth Kupchella said. 

Although only eight  juniors got to experience the leadership seminar, BSM wants all of their students to learn how to become valuable leaders. “Ethical leadership is so important. As a Catholic school we pay special attention to our values, and we like to think that most, if not all of our students, are going to be demonstrating leadership as they move forward in their lives,” Roby said.  

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