Emphasizing Positive Change
at the 2016 Peer Leadership
Middle School Conference
Sharing ideas for positive change was the reason that two hundred students from thirteen Long Island schools convened for the 2016 Peer Leadership Middle School Conference that was hosted by Sayville Middle School. Along with more than twenty chaperones, the visiting students learned valuable information that they could bring back to their home districts.
An outgrowth of Leadership Conferences offered at St. Joseph’s College by BOCES, the Middle School conference welcomed keynote speaker Willie Green from the Youth Alliance. In his address entitled “Overcoming Adversity and Challenging Yourself Despite Circumstances,” Green shared insights with the entire assembly. Afterwards, the students and chaperones broke into workshops. Topics included The Impact of Sugar (presented by Lety Algeri, Nutrition and Wellness Educator) The Impact of Drugs, Addiction and Recovery (presented by Louis Iacona, LI Helps), Vaping and Tobacco Dangers (presented by Martha Kahan, HS Student Assistance Counselor), Perseverance, Overcoming Adversity and Setting Goals (presented by Robert Rodriguez AMP, Amputee Basketball Team), and Bullying—All You Need to Know (presented by Peter Michelman, Bay Shore Schools).
These workshops focused on fostering leadership, raising awareness, encouraging goals and showed the students how to implement this information into their school community.
“Students were excited about the knowledge they gained, being able to participate in this experience and were eager to bring the information back to their home schools,” said Sayville Middle School Health and Nutrition teacher Jodi Maurici. “The feedback was amazing and extremely positive,”
The Peer Leadership Conference was the result of an exemplary collaboration of Sayville Middle School staff. Student Assistance Counselor Paul Simonsen spearheaded the conference and was assisted by the Middle School faculty who organized and implemented activities as well as provided supportive technology, classroom space, and extra time to help to make this program a success.