CTE conference: GF students learn leadership, communication skills
By Kelby Newcomb
Green Forest high school students learned that anyone can be a leader Wednesday at the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Student Leadership Conference in the fellowship hall of Green Forest United Methodist Church.
Keith Kilbourn, agriculture sciences teacher, said the Green Forest School District has been holding the leadership conference for seven years now.
“We do this for these kids to understand that anybody can be a leader if they apply themselves,” he said. “It brings a lot of kids out of their shells. We picked some because they were quieter kids, and this will push them a little bit and get them out of their comfort zones.”
Ted Wiese of Wiese Training and Development, LLC. was the guest speaker for the event. The students were divided into teams and had to work together to beat the other teams in a variety of games and challenges.
Wiese said he works to connect with students rather than just speaking to them. He said his goal is to inspire students to believe they can make a difference and to teach them how to do it.
“Ted does an amazing job,” Kilbourn said. “We broke the students into teams, and each time has a mascot like Dragons, Lions, Bears and Hornets…. just no Tigers or Bobcats. He has them do a lot of hands-on activities that encourage them to work together and communicate. It’s all interactive. There’s no sitting around.”
Each activity, he said, teaches the students a different leadership skill.
“We’ve mostly been learning how to be a good leader,” student Macie Pinkley said. “The three steps [Wiese] taught us were ‘act on it,’ teamwork and your energy.”
“I liked when he stressed communication,” student Carter Boggs said. “He repeated the sentence ‘I didn’t say she stole the book,’ and the way he stressed each word changed the meaning.”
“He was talking about how text messages and digital communication can be misinterpreted,” said student Kendall DeMeyer.
Kilbourn said the leadership conference has been a hit with students over the years.
“Since we’ve been doing this, we’ve gotten to where we can only take so many students,” he said. “They beg to go and beg to go back if they’ve been before. It’s a lot of fun. It’s something they look forward to, and it’s working.”