Mount Mercy Academy’s Leadership Program, under the direction of Suzanne Overdorf of Hamburg, was offered to females in eighth grade from several local schools. The program met four times at Mount Mercy Academy.
An orientation and welcome dinner was held in October for the students and their families, as well as the principals of the participating schools. Mount Mercy President Margaret Cronin, along with Principal Margaret Staszak and Overdorf, welcomed everyone and reviewed the program’s expectations. The program culminated with a graduation ceremony last week.
The 21 participants all created a vision board to help them realize their short term and long term goals for the future. The future leaders were also charged with the task of creating a service project based on a need in their schools or in the community. Two of the projects included collecting hygiene supplies for the Kevin Guest House and collecting needed materials and funds for the SPCA.
The graduation ceremony included a dinner at the Mercy Center Dining Room and an opportunity for each graduate to speak about either their service project or the leadership class.
All local grammar schools were invited to participate. The students received recommendations from their principals to be part of the Mount Mercy Academy Leadership Institute. St. John Vianney, Queen of Heaven, OLV, Discovery, Lorraine, Sts. Peter and Paul Hamburg, Southside Elementary and West Seneca Middle all sent students to participate in this exciting program.
The program is designed to develop and refine inherent leadership skills. Public speaking is one of the main areas of focus during the program as it is an essential component of leadership. Students are instructed on how to identify strong role models through the use of literature, film, poems and inspirational quotes. Another facet of the program is learning about the moral responsibility that comes with leadership. This includes the onus to use one’s gifts to improve the world.
Overdorf, who is also a member of Mount Mercy’s Board of Trustees, commented, “Each year the students enter the program a little unsure of themselves and then leave very confident with a better sense of who they are and where they want to go.”