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PEPP-McKeesport to Present Leadership Conference for High School Students

News release about a High School Student Government Leadership Conference in McKeesport
The Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP), an outreach of the College of Education, is presenting a High School Student Government Leadership Conference on Friday, Nov. 16, 2007 in McKeesport, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

More than one hundred high school students from Pittsburgh Public Schools and McKeesport Area School District, comprised of senior class officers, student council representatives, National Honor Society members, PEPP participants and other school leaders, are expected to attend. The event, a university/high school collaborative effort, is sponsored and hosted by the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus.

The conference was conceived by Jeannetta Thomas, PEPP educational diversity specialist, and her daughter Alydia Thomas, 2008 senior class president at Pittsburgh-Perry High School. The objectives  are (1) to create a network of student leaders that can discuss common student issues, educational concerns facing students,  and potential solutions; (2) to share ideas and resources for successful academic, personal and technological progress; and (3) to provide students an opportunity to experience campus life.  The visiting students will experience four mini-college classes in Math, Science, English Literature, and Art. Penn State-Greater Allegheny Lion Ambassadors will guide students throughout the campus, during which time the students will participate in a Career Interest Inventory to identify potential career paths based on the answers provided by each student. As well, students will be able to attend financial aid planning workshops, hear prominent guest speakers, and participate in a cultural diversity workshop.

Light breakfast and a sit down lunch will be provided. At the end of the conference, students will be given several topics to take back to their home schools. These topics will be discussed at the next leadership conference, as the Nov. 16 session will be the first in a series of leadership workshops this academic year. Roderick Asberry, admissions management officer of Penn State Greater Allegheny Office of Enrollment Management, has indicated that “the campus is proud to host this first Leadership Conference and plans to continue its involvement in the future. These young people are a strong representation of Pennsylvania’s future leaders and the Greater Allegheny Campus is committed to the development of programs, seminars and activities that create avenues for these youth to travel the road toward leadership responsibility.”

PEPP, which also operates collaborative educational partnerships with the Reading, Philadelphia, and William Penn school districts, hopes to expand future leadership forums to these districts via computer technology. Darrell Thomas, PEPP director, said, “Ultimately, we would like the Leadership Conference to involve as many of Pennsylvania’s 501 school districts as possible, in order to stimulate collective intellectual discussion and problem solving through student-based communication. Looking forward, the Leadership Conference may develop into a vehicle that could conceivably provide student-based feedback to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. As a result, I tend to believe that the positive future of our state educational system could be in the hands of our student leaders.”