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Taking the Lead at Mount Holyoke

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October 11, 2002

Taking the Lead at Mount Holyoke

One wants to organize a job fair for the homeless in Boston. Another wants to help Mexican migrant families. A third hopes to use tape-recorded stories to connect mothers in prison with their young children. In all, forty-three high school juniors, each with her own plan for making a positive change in the world, will converge on MHC to take part in Take the Lead, the College's annual teen leadership conference that will take place October 17–20.

Close to four hundred high school students from across the country, who were nominated by their counselors, teachers, religious or community leaders, and other adult mentors, applied to participate in Take the Lead. They were chosen on the basis of their potential for leadership and making a difference, as demonstrated by their academic, extracurricular, and community involvement, as well as their insight and motivation. The participants also tend to be at the top 5 percent of their class and are leaders within and beyond their schools.

The four-day conference will offer each participant the opportunity to hone leadership skills. All students will attend workshops on team building and public speaking, and they can choose to participate in additional workshops on fundraising/
budgeting, time management, community organizing, and getting publicity. Each Take the lead participant will be paired with a Mount Holyoke student who has been trained by the Weissman Center for Leadership.

Throughout the weekend, the participants will develop a plan that addresses an issue that they feel passionate about. Projects from last year included a play about capital punishment, flower planting in an inner-city neighborhood, and diversity training for high school teachers. Each MHC mentor will work one-on-one with a Take the Lead participant to develop the younger student's action project. The mentor will continuing to offer advice, feedback, and support by email for up to six months. The College will award $500 prizes to three completed action plans.

Guest speakers for the program are Alexandra Gromko '91, an Emmy award-winning news anchor with ABC affiliate WTVQ-TV in Lexington, Kentucky; Simisola Sanni '97, who helped to create and headed a new Junior Achievement program in Nigeria; and Patricia VandenBerg, director of Take the Lead and the College's executive director of communications and strategic initiatives. She is a nationally recognized authority on communications and leading change.

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Copyright © 2002 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Office of Communications and maintained by Don St. John. Last modified on October 11, 2002.

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