WATROUS — An entire community opened its arms as nearly 1,000 student leaders came to town to attend a provincial convention.
As the attendees of the 2019 Saskatchewan Student Leadership Conference marched down Watrous’ Main Street, locals lined on the sidewalk shouted the names of the 98 schools in attendance and gave high fives.
The conference is being hosted by Winston High School, which had previously hosted it in 1993 and 2012.
“We feel honored to have this special event in our town,” Ed Collins, Watrous’ mayor, told the students at the conference’s opening ceremonies on Sept. 18. “As student leaders and leadership advisors in your own schools and communities, you have already demonstrated that you are willing to take on leadership roles and this conference will further enhance that role in the future.”
The mayor said he wanted to extend a warm welcome to all those that attended.
“Our citizens have opened up their homes and their hearts for you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy the warm hospitality that Watrous is known for.”
The conference, which the organizers called Take Action, had a Hollywood movie premiere theme.
“When I think about taking action, I think about the fact that I'm looking out on the future leaders – the current leaders in our school, certainly – in our province and in our world,” said Kevin Garinger, Horizon’s director of education.
Garinger told the students their leadership not only contribute to a positive school culture, but a positive culture within their communities.
“My hope for this conference is that you leave here with a greater understanding of what it means to provide leadership to your fellow students. I hope that you share and learn about some exciting ideas and activities that you can take back to your schools.”
Terry Braman, Winston’s principal, acknowledged the efforts of the community and staff as well as the two teacher organizers, Tina Edwards and Lori Bartko. He told the students he was impressed with their work and proud to be their principal.
“Look around you. This is happening because of you, because of your desire to host but mostly due to your follow through,” he said. “That is what life is about: showing up, following through and being a part of something bigger than yourself.”
The three-day conference featured Craig Kielburger, the founder of the We Movement; Houston Kraft, who focuses on leadership through kindness; Tyler Durman, who delivers a message of caring for others in a humorous manner; and Alison Springer, the founder of the Young Women of Power Conference.