On May 11, approximately 350 student leaders from our Catholic elementary and secondary schools participated in the Board’s 17th Annual Student Leadership Symposium.
The event took place at Club Roma in St. Catharines, and included the 2017-2018 Elementary and Secondary Student Senate Elections, as well as an incredibly dynamic and powerful keynote address by Orlando Bowen, a former professional athlete (he played four years on the Toronto Argonauts and a year on the Hamilton Ti-Cats until a beating by undercover police left him unable to play), actor, IT consultant and communicator.
“All of that is insignificant compared to what is taking place here today,” Bowen said.
During his presentation, the Kingston, Jamaica native who eventually called Toronto home challenged students to realize that your reference point for life comes from your own experience – “you only know what you know – ” and to understand that applies to others, too.
He also told them that real friends will call you out when you are slacking, and that’s it’s important to recognize that some of their personal accomplishments come through the sacrifice of others. “We’re not in this life alone,” he said. “Recognize that we all need each other’s support to get through life, and be grateful.”
Reflecting on the faith that brought him through very troubled times in the early 2000s, Bowen told students to recognize themselves – and others – as children of God.
He challenged students to realize that they might be the only positive force in someone’s life, and that each one of us might give someone the opportunity they need to rise above their immediate circumstances.
“I know you have great things ahead because my life didn’t end that night,” he said. “There’s no time to waste. You’ve got what you need to do what you do.”
Following the presentation, the students voted on who will represent them in 2017-2018. Please read the media release which includes information about the 2017-2018 Elementary and Secondary Student Senate Co-Chairs and the 2017-2018 Student Trustees.
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