This past weekend, as our nation was waking up to the devastating tragedies in Orlando, Florida, four Althoff Catholic students were among 160 rising juniors from across the state at Illinois Wesleyan University for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference (HOBY). HOBY’s mission is to develop and inspire our global community of youth to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. Emma Murphy ‘18 (St. Teresa), Natalyn Gorazd ‘18 (St. Clare), Matthew Schroeder ‘18 (St. Teresa) and Thomas Padgett ‘18 (St. Clare) were Althoff Catholic’s ambassadors.
HOBY ambassadors had the opportunity to learn from several speakers on the topic of leadership. “One of the first sessions was led by Chris Bowers who is a motivational speaker. There was a card behind our name badges that had the word ‘cool’ on it. Chris had us all rip up our ‘cool cards’ at the same time. He wanted us to understand that true leaders are comfortable with themselves and realize that they do not have to fit into someone else’s definition of ‘cool,’” said Natalyn. “That exercise was really important and was something that meant more to everyone at the conference as the days went on.”
Dr. Narendra Jaggi, a professor from Illinois Wesleyan, was one of Thomas Padgett’s favorite presenters. “Dr. Jaggi taught me a lot about leadership both in what he presented and how he presented it. My biggest takeaway from him was about leading with the right demeanor and style and how to empower others.”
Leadership for Service
Each year, HOBY ambassadors engage in a leadership for service activity. Alex’s Lemonade Stand was the organization the students’ worked to support at the conference. “Seeing 160 teenagers from different ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds join together and raise over $4,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand in less than two hours was awesome,” said Emma. “It really proves that working together and overcoming our differences can have a very positive impact on our world. Two of the most amazing people I met at HOBY were a set of twins who were of the Sunni Muslim faith. It was great to get to know them and to discover how much we had in common. One of them even gave me a really cool henna tattoo on my hand.”
Bringing HOBY Lessons Home
“After attending HOBY, I feel like the four of us could bring our fellow Althoff students together to discuss issues facing our community and our world. We could discuss events as they come up and find ways that we can take a leadership role and make a difference as teenagers,” said Matthew Schroeder.
Emma Murphy to attend World Leadership Congress (July 23 – 30, 2016)
At the end of the conference, it was announced that two of HOBY’s Illinois Central – South Chapter participants had been selected to attend the World Leadership Congress, being held this year at Loyola University in Chicago. We are so proud that our very own Emma Murphy was chosen as one of two among the 160 participants to attend the World Leadership Congress. Congratulations, Emma! We cannot wait to hear about your experience when you return in August!