Enrichment Days offer Saint Joseph’s students an opportunity to live out the Four Pillars — Faith, Scholarship, Leadership and Service — through full-day activities designed to provide learning experiences extending beyond the classroom. LeaderShape, a not-for-profit organization based out of Champaign, Illinois, traveled to Boalsburg to run their one-day program, Catalyst, on February 21.
According to LeaderShape.org, Catalyst is designed “for anyone who is interested in starting something extraordinary. Participating in Catalyst is a first step in the life-long process of learning, exploration, and action…This program is designed to allow participants the time and space to connect with others and engage in learning more about their own story of leadership.”
Mrs. Badger, one of Saint Joseph’s Enrichment Day coordinators, said the program provided students with “a chance to further develop leadership skills and work with outside professionals to gain different insights into their own lives.”
Valdez Russell, a LeaderShape presenter, pushed the students at Saint Joseph’s to do better and be better. “Today is a great day to challenge yourself. Not just for you, but so that those in this space today can learn to be better.”
One of the many break-out sessions of the day focused on having better conversations with others. Students listened to a Ted Talk given by Celeste Headlee and were given her 10 tips to engage in stronger face-to-face conversation. The list included things such as “Don’t equate your experience with theirs” and “If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.” From there, students were tasked with applying the tips learned in a two-minute conversation with their peers. After a debriefing session, students expressed that they felt they were given the tools to something that could be taken outside of the school.
“The 10 tips for conversation were really helpful. I could see how they would be applicable in life,” reflected senior, Catalina Thornburg.
Saint Joseph’s student, Ava Starks added, “This exercise taught us to not always try to reply to others but listen to understand.”
Echoing her sentiment, Physics teacher, Mr. Klepeiss said that these tips will teach students to “really listen and block out distractions.”
Through LeaderShape’s program, Saint Joseph’s students were able to achieve the following learning outcomes: explore what it means to choose your own authentic path, understand how you best connect and contribute to the groups and causes you care about, and to commit to a plan to be a catalyst for yourself and the groups or communities you are a part of.
Reflecting back on the day, history teacher Mr. Walsh feels that this program has “given our students a chance to explore their own personalities and the traits that will help them become effective leaders within our Saint Joseph’s community and hopefully beyond the walls of this school.”