FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Students played games last night at UH Campus Center Ballroom to break the ice and learned how to improve pep rallies during the annual Student Leadership Workshop, which kicked off last night. Brittney Sutton and other teammates celebrated their win in the slipper pogo/ring toss. The workshop runs through tomorrow.
Student leaders network
A workshop helps delegates improve efficiency at schools
LAST YEAR, Brittney Sutton and Kelsey Copes-Gerbitz were quiet at first at the annual Student Leadership Workshop. But this year, they are helping others learn what it takes to be a leader.
Sutton, a graduate of Kapaa High School on Kauai, said that becoming an effective leader is "not about being popular or (putting together) a good resume," but having the "motivation and drive" to accomplish something for others.
Copes-Gerbitz, a senior at Waiakea High School, said the workshop she attended last year taught her "a lot about yourself, how to have fun and inspire others. You learn a lot about people, and what you can do for your school and community."
This year, the 18th annual workshop, sponsored by the Hawaii State Student Council, runs through tomorrow at the University of Hawaii. More than 200 student delegates are attending the seminar, "A Leader's Life for Me," held at the Manoa campus center.
Nationally renowned inspirational speaker Scott Greenberg, who beat an aggressive form of cancer, was among the speakers. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, state Rep. Glenn Wakai, and Ensign Sean Bartonicek also spoke to the students.
Sutton and Copes-Gerbitz are one of eight pairs of "facilitators" -- a word used often at the workshop -- who lead small groups of students in the nuts and bolts of school leadership.
Copes-Gerbitz said one of the most valuable tools she has learned to getting her classmates motivated and excited during a meeting was using "energizers" -- "chants or cheers" that involve singing and clapping to short tunes that get people out of a slump. If they do it half-heartedly, "then you make them do it louder and faster the next time," she said.
Sutton said they don't feel silly making everyone follow them because "when you use them with your peers ... there's no shame in this." Luckily, it comes naturally for both to be "outgoing and encouraging," Sutton said.
"You can come from any background or city. Everyone can be a leader in some way or another," Copes-Gerbitz said.
Sutton said last year she picked up some outstanding ideas on holding effective fundraisers, one of which involved throwing pies in the "winning" teacher's face. The workshop "really gave me an open mind to do more things. I made a lot of friends" and learned the advantages of networking, she said.