January 06, 2012

High school students to learn about leadership

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Approximately two dozen student leaders from area high schools will gain insight on leadership next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The third Southern Illinois High School Youth Leadership Day is set for Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.  High school principals and teachers selected participants based on their special interest in politics and government, and their potential as promising young leaders.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover any and all events of this year’s Southern Illinois High School Youth Leadership Day.  For more information, contact Matt Baughman, associate director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, at 618/201-0082 or by email at baughman@siu.edu.


The event begins at 8:30 a.m. with welcoming remarks by David Yepsen, Institute director.

The students will spend the day focusing on leadership, understanding what it is, and learning how to be a better leader, Yepsen said. 

“Leaders in high school often go on to leadership roles in adult life and we want to help them develop the skills needed to succeed,” Yepsen said.  “We put a focus on political and public service leadership, but it’s also helpful to students working to become leaders in other fields.”

The speakers include SIU Carbondale Chancellor Rita Cheng, Yepsen, Linda Baker, Institute/University professor; John Foster, an emeritus professor in the SIU Carbondale Department of Political Science, and John S. Jackson Institute visiting professor and noted political analyst. 

Two college freshmen now in leadership positions are also part of the program.  Adrian T. Miller, a freshman in pre-law from Carbondale, is a student senator, and will share insights on qualities needed for successful student leaders during a lunch program. Miller currently serves as a student employee at the Institute and selected SIU Carbondale over other universities because of opportunities for young leaders like this event that are provided by the Institute.   He was a past participant in several Institute programs, including the Youth Leadership Day in Carbondale and the annual Youth Government Day in Springfield.

Cody Hendricks, a freshman at Eureka College and member of the Pekin City Council, will discuss “how and why young people should be involved in politics,” at an afternoon session.  Hendricks became the youngest person elected to the Pekin City Council in April 2011 while an 18-year-old senior at Pekin Community High School.  He is majoring in political science and history, and secondary education.  His began his involvement with the Institute through his participation in the Youth Government Day program.

Yepsen said the students will have time to interact with each other and discuss examples of leadership in their schools that they are doing themselves.  The discussion will look at the role of young people in politics, preparing for political careers, and challenges that leaders face, Yepsen said.

The youth leadership day complements the long-running Youth Government Day held annually in Springfield started by Institute founder, the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon.  Yepsen said it was important to bring the same concept closer to home by having an event on campus.

“Classes are not in session and it’s a quiet time here, which makes it easy for high school students to participate in the workshop and get a quick tour of campus,” he said.  “We hope some of them will decide to attend SIU as well.”