St. Patrick Catholic High School was well-represented during the 2018 Mississippi Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) seminar, held June 1-3 at Millsaps College. Students that attended include Emma Bruffey, Alaina Olsen, Teal Salloum and Clayton Stoddard.
Founded in 1958, HOBY’s mission is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. HOBY programs are conducted annually throughout the United States, serving local and international high school students. HOBY provides students, for whom most are selected by their schools, to participate in a unique leadership training, service-learning, and motivation-building experiences beginning a lifelong dedication to improving the lives of others. Due to the selfless efforts of volunteers and the contributions of generous donors, more than 10,000 students participate in HOBY programs annually.
Students had plenty to share following the experience. Alaina Olsen said, “I had a blast at HOBY and learned a lot about how to work with different people. Many other leadership opportunities such as representing my class on student council and acting as Vice President of NJHS were different because I knew what the goals of my position were, but at HOBY, I learned many skills which I can use even when I’m not in a leadership position. We talked a lot about starting new charities and fundraising projects which could be big or small. It was nice being there because you could tell the staff believed in you, and since the program was designed specifically for leadership, they were interested in individual growth and encouraged us to contact them afterwards with any questions we might have regarding the new projects we were asked to come up by the end of the weekend for our own communities or schools. I also got to learn about all the interesting ways leaders all over the state raise money for their schools, food kitchens, clubs, and charities.”
Emma Bruffey added, “My biggest takeaway from this experience was that all different kinds of people can be leaders. You don’t have to be famous, or have a lot of power. You can just be an ordinary teen and still be an amazing leader. HOBY touched me more than any other leadership experience because of the way they empowered us to be more. My favorite part of the program was listening to Dan Veldman speak on leadership. He was very engaging and made us think about how our actions affected others. In all, HOBY was a life-changing program that all teens should get the opportunity to experience.”