What does it take to be a leader? Eight students from St. Edward Central Catholic High School stepped out of their comfort zone and attended RYLA, a leadership conference held by the Rotary club. This 4-day long retreat taught students the empowerment of becoming a leader within society today. Junior Milka Deinla started, “I learned the importance of self-worth, self-empowerment, and self-improvement. The weekend helped me to learn about myself and what I can do as a leader.” Approximately 100 participants from a variety of high schools of Illinois also took part in the event. Popular speakers from all over the nation—Rick Metzger, John Huston, and Tom Carroll—spoke to the young crowd, exemplifying the importance of leadership, and how to make a difference not within the world, but within their community. The stories of the speakers resonated with a majority of the teenagers, spreading the thematic theme of how you can overcome anything with faith and motivation. Senior Jessy Kramp said, “As teenagers, we feel as if we hit rock bottom in certain situations, which tends us to have these discouraging thoughts of giving up. Hearing these speakers share their personal experiences made me realize that any obstacle can be overcome.” Many found this retreat as a place for self-improvement, learning the strength and weaknesses within themselves.
Not only was this weekend a time for self evaluation, the participants took the time to engage in activities and to create bonds with kids from other schools. Junior Jlana Von Rohr said, “It was a great way to meet new people and listen to such powerful and motivational speakers. RYLA was a great place to unwind and forget about the stresses of life.” Junior Milka Deinla also stated, “I loved the entire weekend because I made new friends, with other students and with the great counselors there. I had so much fun listening to the speakers and hanging out with our small groups.”
To learn more about the opportunities RYLA offers, join Interact Club at St. Edward Central Catholic High School!