Emily Gardner, a sophomore at Hoosick Falls Central High School, has been nominated by school staff to attend the spring State Leadership Seminar offered by the Hugh O-Brian Youth organization (HOBY). Founded by actor Hugh O’Brian in 1958, HOBY annually offers leadership opportunities for high school students, including a weekend-long seminar in early June for high school sophomores. The students who attend must already demonstrate leadership skills.
Gardner was a captain of this year’s junior varsity soccer team, is president of the Junior National Honor Society, treasurer of the class of 2020, and helps with school events such as Homecoming Weekend.
“I was surprised, happy, and honored to be chosen,” said Gardner. “I look forward to meeting and interacting with people my age and learning more about skills and strategies for being a good leader.”
Gardner credits her older sister, Katy, as a positive influence on her. “She’s a freshman at Colgate this year,” she said. “She was a good example for me and I hope to serve that role for students in the younger grades.”
The State Leadership Seminar is HOBY’s flagship program. The weekend is filled with interactive activities and workshops that encourage students to discover their own leadership styles. The seminar is designed to help students gain insight into different perspectives and to promote them to work on their own leadership skills so they can continue to make a positive impact in their communities.
Gardner’s attendance has local support, as the Hoosick Falls Kiwanis Club will pay for Gardner’s registration fee to attend the HOBY Leadership weekend.
“The HOBY Leadership Seminar fits in perfectly with the Kiwanis Club’s commitment to positive youth development. We’re proud to sponsor Emily’s attendance,” said Gale Leva, secretary of the Hoosick Falls Kiwanis Club.
“As a service organization, we believe in cultivating the leadership skills of our younger citizens. Doing so helps them to be better prepared to serve their communities now and in the future, which benefits everyone.”
“I find that I like being part of a team while also having a leadership role,” said Gardner. “I enjoyed being one of three soccer captains. Our coach would give us information and together we would pass it on to the team. We worked well together.”
Gardner also credits her soccer coach, Maurica Manning, and one of her teachers, Eleanor Danforth, with having a positive impact on her.
“I was privileged to coach Emily Gardner this season,” said Manning. “I witnessed how Emily acts as a leader: she believes in teamwork and wants to help make others around her better. She sees criticism as an opportunity to grow, which is something to admire. Attending this seminar will help her build confidence in herself and to find her voice.”
Added Danforth, “Emily has an innate sense of right and wrong – she has a strong moral compass. As the Junior National Honor Society president, she takes her role seriously without being self-righteous.”
Gardner will be one of 10,000 high school sophomores nationwide to attend one of HOBY’s 70 Leadership Seminars this year.