Learning to Lead

By Aiko Lozar, Freshman, Carlsbad High School

On May 31st, I participated in the Student Leadership Council’s capstone project titled

“Learning to Lead.” Held at the Ruby G. Schulman Auditorium at the Dove Library, this leadership forum allowed the public to get an inside look at the SLC curriculum, experience and opportunities while also listening to SLC members interview panels of local leaders from STEM and Visual & Performing Arts, respectively.

As I was a speaker, I arrived early to pick up my script and review what I was going to talk about. I was able to bond with my peers before we ran through the logistics of the event (i.e., tech, microphones, when we should be in the wings of the stage, etc.) Following this, the participating students and our mentors discussed the Student Leadership Council with members of the community at the reception. When I told a student what the council stood for and the amazing skills we’ve learned, he couldn’t wait to try and join next year! This newfound ability to inspire was probably my favorite part of the whole event.

After, we filtered into the auditorium and began our event with introductions, including the Mayor, the principal of Carlsbad High School, CEF board members and a vast list of city council members and important influencers from the Carlsbad community. We were deeply honored that they were able to join us. Next, we brought the STEM and Arts panelists to the stage. The STEM panelists were Shari Brasher (CEO, Fresh Start Surgical Gifts), James Fieberg (Science Department Chair, Sage Creek High School), Stephanie Nilsen (Director of Operations, Biosciences, Thermo Fisher Scientific) and Joan Perhach (Engineer, Viasat).

The Arts panelists were Jessica Allen (Orchestra Director, Carlsbad High School), Kristianne Kurner (Executive Artistic Director, New Village Arts) Shanna Nelson (President, Jazzercise) and Richard Shultz (Carlsbad Cultural Arts Manager). They were asked questions about experiences in their fields, career challenges and any advice for young students like myself.

Their responses were truly unforgettable. The three most important takeaways I received were: Have a backup plan going into the arts, do what you love but still be realistic and don’t forget to enjoy high school.

After, we thanked the large amount of people who helped bring this event together, including Michelle Ginn, Sue Hetzel Meade, Ari Johnson, Gary Morrison and Katie Park. We also said our goodbyes to the graduating students leaving the council next year, followed by a group huddle!

All of the sections in the event were transitioned by videos created by Ari Johnson, containing SLC members’ takes on all of our guest speakers throughout the year, the many skills we learned, insights from the book we read this year (Sean Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens”) as well as highlights from our own personal leadership journeys. These videos made the event smooth, interesting and reflective.

Overall, my experience was more than memorable. Meeting so many people and being inspired by the leaders in my community was something I’ll never forget.