NHS LEADs the way to Chicago


Blake Dillow, Amy Kaznica, and Iain Bennett pose for a picture at the LEAD conference.

National Honor Society (NHS) officers and their sponsors ventured to Chicago for the Leadership Experience and Development (LEAD) Conference on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Various schools from countries around the world such as Mexico, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Colombia, and Honduras sent their NHS and/or Student Council officers to experience the LEAD Conference. OHS sent Iain Bennett (12), NHS co- vice president, Blake Dillow (12), NHS secretary, and Amy Kaznica (12), NHS president, along with their sponsors, Ms. Courtney Hausner and Mr. John Ries. This was the first year OHS sent a group to the LEAD conference.

During the opening ceremonies a keynote speaker, Mike Smith, a professional skater and an ambassador for Puma, Red Bull, Toyota, DECA, and partners with Skate for a Change program, informed the leaders on how to integrate their community service into what they love to do and what is beneficial to the community, rather than just filling hour sheets.

“I will bring this back to OHS to make NHS more productive in the future… The most memorable moment from the convention was meeting so many other people as driven as I am… Overall, I greatly enjoyed the trip,” Bennett said.

The students attended breakout sessions, seminars, and other guest speakers who talked about what it means to be a leader, and what the officers can take back to their school to better the leadership in their community. One seminar taught students how to engage in meaningful small talk and building new relationships, which will be useful for the officers to take to college.

“I learned a lot about how to get people to work together and participate, because I think right now we kind of have a problem with that. I don’t think we get the word out enough and make volunteering fun, so I found a bunch of new ways to make things more fun,” Kaznica said.

Bennett, Dillow, and Kaznica each said they hope to pursue a leadership role in the future, and that the conference helped them gain leadership experience they might not have received otherwise.

“I always kind of have been [a leader], and whatever I do I would probably end up being a leader in it,” Kaznica said.

NHS plans to bring more people next year, including juniors so these aspiring leaders have more time to integrate what they bring back into the community.

“I would recommend taking a larger group and taking more juniors so that they can take what they learned and apply it to help the club succeed for the full next year, rather than just the four months that seniors have left,” Dillow said.

Ries said that NHS plans to meet with the Character Ed team and incorporate a video series on leadership into Tiger Time during ANP.