North Carolina High School Athletic Association

NCHSAA SAAC Hosts 2021-2022 Student Leadership Conference

RALEIGH, NC – The NCHSAA's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted the annual Student Leadership Conference in Raleigh over the weekend. The event hosted students from 12 schools and featured 60 participants and focused on leading through sportsmanship. 

"We are thrilled to finally get to host the Student Leadership Conference in 2022," said NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker. "After the COVID pandemic forced the cancellation of the event for the past two years, it was wonderful to see these student-athletes and coaches get an opportunity to learn from a diverse group of talented individuals who can help them grow as the current leaders of their teams and future leaders in their communities." 

The one-day leadership conference was an opportunity for students to take steps in the right direction for achieving new levels of leadership. There were three breakout work sessions for student-athletes to attend covering a range of topics from Relational and Motivational Leadership, to a session on Mind Mapping: Goal Setting in the 21st Century. Another session was a panel discussion featuring former SAAC members and current college students who discussed the transition from high school student-athlete to college student.

Conference speakers were highly decorated and nationally-recognized individuals in their fields. Mrs. Deb Hult, the co-founder of Core Trainings, led the session on Relational and Motivational Leadership. She is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on the subjec, and has been committed to enhancing and empowering student leaders for more than a decade. The session was designed to challenge student's comfort zones and tap into their self-confidence to empower them to be a positive influence on and off the field. Mr. Omari Pearson led the session on Goal Setting, designed to help students take the first step towards a goal and build confidenece to keep going. Pearson is a leader in education-driven life skills and mentoring and founder and President of Passion to Purpose Inc. He has served as a trainer and consultant to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) after playing high school, collegiate, and professional basketball.

The event was capped with a message from Debbie Antonelli, an award-winning college basketball analyst and broadcaster. Antonelli has North Carolina roots, playing college basketball for the legendary Kay Yow at NC State and high school basketball at Cary High School. She was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing volleyball, basketball, and softball. Antonelli is a lifelong advocate for Special Olympics and gender equity in sports in her 34th season as a sports broadcaster.