New Castle News

Closer Look

November 2, 2012

Students from around state gather here for conference

NEW CASTLE — A statewide student council conference blasted off yesterday in New Castle.

Hosted by Laurel and Union students, the three-day gathering is titled “Ignite Yourself, Your School and Your Community to Serve Others.” More than 800 middle- and high-school students and 200 adult advisors from 130 districts are attending.

“After nearly two years of planning and promotion, we’re ready to go,” said Union High’s Kristina Riggans, 2012 Pennsylvania Student Council state president from Union High School.  “This (preparing for the conference) has been one of the most difficult but rewarding accomplishments of my life.”

Conference co-chairs are Christina Noble of Union and Marlon Tanner of Laurel.

“You have to work together,” Tanner noted. “You can’t do everything on your own, and once other people start helping, the job’s a lot easier.”

Noble agreed.

“While this has been one of the most substantial and daunting tasks that I’ve ever had to take on,” she said, “it was well worth it.”

The Scottish Rite Cathedral is serving as the site for general sessions, regional caucus meetings and a fireworks-themed banquet. Student-led workshops will take place at Union for middle schoolers and Laurel for high schoolers.

Last night, delegates capped their first day with a fireworks display by Pyrotecnico and Zambelli Internationale at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

Making the conference possible was the establishment of 17 student-led committees with two adult advisors serving on each committee.

“The main thing I learned,” said Amanda Moon, registration co-chair from Laurel, “is that no matter what blurs your path or what things get in your way, as long as you stay focused and calm you can work around or rise above the problems.”

Maria Medure, banquet co-chair from Union High School, remarked that her job was definitely easier considering “a lot of what we needed came from my family.  To be honest, I could go on and on of how blessed I am to have them (Mattie and Darlene Medure) as grandparents.”

Approximately 30 workshops for high schoolers are being offered throughout the two-day event with topics ranging from “Delegation for Dummies” to “Tying the Community Together.” Middle school students may choose from nearly 20 topics, including “Plan Ahead to Get Ahead” to “There’s No ‘I’ in Team.”

Conference delegates also have been busy this year sponsoring events to assist two state charity projects: the Pennsylvania schools affected by last September’s floods and raising funds to fill the library at a school in Ivory Park, South Africa.

Meanwhile, the entire Lawrence County community got involved in the process when the request was made for student housing.

“There are 170 host homes, some of which are hosting up to 12 students in one home,” said Rose Ann Fulena, district advisor.  “I can’t thank everyone enough for their generosity.”

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