CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – (April 2, 2018) The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) held the 2018 Student Leadership Conference on Saturday, March 24 at the Sheraton Hotel in Chapel Hill. The event was hosted by the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) under the direction of Chiquana Dancy, Director of Sports, Championships and Student Services at the NCHSAA.
The goal for this one-day conference was for student-athletes to develop positive leadership skills to effectively lead their peers and to feel empowered to serve as advocates for their school, community and state. Over 150 student-athletes, coaches, and administrators attended the conference representing 38 schools. In lieu of a registration fee for the conference, participants brought at least two canned goods or non-perishable food items for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
American Ninja warrior, Hoan Do, kicked off the day as the morning keynote speaker, discussing the importance of changing the negative self-talk in our minds to positive. Do also focused on the things that student-athletes can control in their lives, which include how they react to a situation and what they chose to do about it.
Student-Athletes then participated in three breakout sessions. A panel that consisted of two collegiate student-athletes and a recent college graduate, gave student-athletes the opportunity to ask questions about their college experiences and insight on how to navigate after transitioning from high school student-athleteto college student. NCHSAA Associate Commissioner Mark Dreibelbis, presented on positive leadership and recognizing the leader within you. NC State’s Associate Professor Harriett Edwards, Ed.D. rounded out these dynamic sessions with a D.I.S.C assessment that helped student-athletes learn about their personality, communication styles, and how they are perceived by others.
The day concluded with former Harlem Globetrotter, and North Carolina native, Dexter Williams speaking about living your dreams. Williams used his own life experiences to inspire student-athletes to keep pursuing their dreams, even when challenges occur.
Mikayla Olejar a volleyball and softball student-athlete from Ayden-Grifton High School said, “The Student Athlete Leadership Conference was very inspiring and informative…It helped me figure out my goals and what I want to do, instead of focusing on what everyone else wants to do.”
“The Student Leadership Conference is only one of the many opportunities for the NCHSAA to meet the needs of student-athletes. Through our SAAC, we get a clear understanding of what their peers want, and need, from a conference, and we do our best to make it happen. I am overjoyed with the number of participants at the conference and thrilled to see a variety of school personnel and parents supporting the student-athletes. It is my hope they everyone in attendance walked away with at least one positive idea to share with others.”
To learn more about NCHSAA Student Services programs, please visit the Student Services page on the NCHSAA website.