Yesterday, Mr. Mailloux and I went to Assumption College in Worcester, MA for a junior high student leadership conference called Stand Up, Speak Out. The conference is sponsored by Boston College's Roche Center for Catholic Education and was for junior high students in the Diocese of Worcester. They also have a conference tomorrow at Boston College which is for the students of the Archdiocese of Boston. Mr. Mailloux and I went to see if this is something he may want to introduce to the student of Saint Joseph Regional Junior High School where he of course is also principal.
There were about 20 schools at this conference with about 4-5 kids from each school. The morning began with about an hour of fun games and icebreakers. One of the games called for the kids to stand across from each other and hold hands while another kid is "passed" through the line on the kid's hands. One poor boy fell right through the hands and cracked his head pretty good. He was OK though.
After the games, the students went off to the first of three workshops - one on listening, another on team building, and another on values. The workshops were run by students of Assumption College who came back early from their Christmas break to help out. The students rotated through the workshops so they got to attend all three during the day. While the students were at the workshop, the presenters did a workshop for the chaperones. After a period of Ignatian prayer called the Examen, we had a discussion and presentation on the mission of Catholic schools and our mission statements. Mr. Mailloux kept looking at me laughing because we as a faculty have been having the exact same conversations and discussions. He joked to me, "So I am not crazy, huh?"
After a tasty lunch in the school cafeteria, the students had one more workshop which the adults attended. Following the final workshop, the students got back into their school groups and came up with a plan for a project to implement at their schools. As they worked on their ideas, they used the skills they learned in the workshops.
Mr. Mailloux has been in education for a long time and has been to hundreds of these conferences and said this was one the best he's been to. It was perfect for the age level, well organized, and very focused on Catholic education. It would be perfect for the junior high schools of our diocese.