Student Leadership Symposium
Christopher Wilson | Contributor

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MARCH, 2017
Young Voices
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“Should I just call-in and pretend to be sick or should I get up?” That was the only thought that was alive in my brain as my ear-piercing alarm clock rang.
With a deep sigh, I hopped out of bed and went straight to the bathroom to get ready for the student leadership symposium I had committed myself to; however, I did not forget to turn off my alarm clock before doing so.
Christopher Wilson is a student at Overton High School, CAPA Creative Writing Program. He also serves as the Ambassador for the JustMyMemphis Young Voices Channel
Recently, TFA, Teach for America, hosted its annual Student Leadership Symposium. It was held Saturday, March 4, 2017 at Memphis Scholars Raleigh-Egypt Middle School, where students signed up to either be student facilitators or attendees for this event. The symposium kicked off with a welcome from TFA’s Athena Turner, who is currently the Executive Director for TFA. One of the guest speakers who came out to speak to everyone was the CEO of Mo’s Bows, Moziah Bridges. While he was speaking, it was encouraging to see another young, African-American man that had accomplished his dream and was continuing to walk in his purpose. Although I am known for doing many great things, people tend to forget that I too can be discouraged because when you are living life always on the go, you sometimes do not have a chance to appreciate the simple things that you once used to.
One thing that I will always remember will be the comments I received from my audience about how my presentation helped them to become a better leader

Once the sessions began, my friend and I watched our other friend, Desiree’, present her presentation on S.M.A.R.T. Goals. I truly learned what the acronym S.M.A.R.T.- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time- Bound- meant and how I could apply it to my lifestyle. After block one was over, the second set of sessions began, which meant that I was not able to support my other friend, Octavia, who was about to present at the same time that I was too. Octavia’s presentation dealt with the proper ways to handle certain situations without overreacting. Although I was not able to physically be in the room with her, I helped her practice the things she needed to say before everyone was released to the opening rally and made sure that she was comfortable in her room afterward.

Nevertheless, it was now my turn to present my workshop on leadership development entitled: Follow the Leader? My workshop discussed the meaning of leadership, the different ways to accentuate those leadership skills, and lastly, the reasoning why communication is key to any organization. At first, I was worried that I would not receive a lot of participation from my group of students because it was still early that Saturday morning, but it surprised me when everyone did; including the adult facilitators who were there to lend a helping hand! The discussion-based questions I posed to my audience truly made them think about their answers and it incited many other topics to stir. The amount of preparation it took for all of this to come together could not have been done without the help of the College Initiative.

Christopher Wilson

Christopher Wilson

Student and Writer | Overton High School

I see myself in the near future pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems at a prestigious
university and being a New York Times best-selling author of my own novel series.

Aside from the nice gift packet TFA gave to its presenters, the experience and memories I gained from participating at this symposium inspired me to do more presentations to any given audience. One thing that I will always remember will be the comments I received from my audience about how my presentation helped them to become a better leader.

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