TOWSON — Destiny, a George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology student, glanced at the flash cards in front of her.
Each card had a positive virtue on it. She needed to decide which five traits were most important to her. After considering it for a few moments, Destiny, who enjoys knitting, picked creativity, family, empathy, quality, and harmony.
Her friend Madison picked open-mindedness, family, creativity, empathy, and respect.
Each student who attended the Leadership Summit for Young Women in High School picked their own personalized set of important virtues. The activity was designed to encourage high school students to stay true to themselves. By being their authentic selves, they can be powerful leaders.
Students representing every Team BCPS high school attended the Leadership Summit for Young Women at Towson University. They were greeted by former State Superintendent Dr. Nancy Grasmick and BCPS Interim Superintendent Verletta White.
Students ate breakfast alongside BCPS leaders. White met with Woodlawn High students. A few tables away, 2016-2017 BCPS Teacher of the Year Rebecca Eig collaborated with Dulaney High students.
Kim Ferguson, the BCPS Director of Student Support Services, and coordinator Heather Wooldridge presented they keynote address, “Building Your Foundation for Personal Success.”
Students could focus on what traits meant the most to them. They were encouraged to find those traits in others as well.
“You need to surround yourselves now — right now — with people who are going to make a positive impact in your life,” Wooldridge said. “People who are going to stretch you to be the best person you can be. That’s the benefit of having true positive, healthy, happy relationships with others.”
Breakout sessions included discussions on understanding and confronting racism, interviewing like a pro, evaluating the confidence gap to become a leader, developing effective time management skills, selecting the right college, and managing a digital footprint.
Destiny and Madison went together to the session about selecting colleges. Perhaps the two friends may wind up attending college one day. Perhaps not. But after a morning of self-reflection, they do know what virtues mean the most to each other. They even share a few: family, empathy, and creativity.
They can take what they learned and share it with their Carver classmates. After all, that’s part of being a leader.