Elementary students gain leadership skills at UNK conference

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Hundreds of elementary school students danced, learned about the planets and stars, took acting lessons, found out what it takes to become a pilot and more Friday at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Nearly 200 students from nearly 20 schools in central Nebraska attended the Region IV Youth Leadership Conference at UNK.

The conference is open to fifth- and sixth-graders who demonstrated leadership skills at their schools and were selected by their principals to attend.

The day began with a presentation by Kyle Larson, a former punter for the University of Nebraska who later played for the Cincinnati Bengals.

In the afternoon, students rotated among nine stations in locations across campus where they received instruction from UNK faculty and staff on a variety of career, university and leadership topics.

The conference was hosted by the UNK College of Education.

Katie Matthews, Principal at Park Elementary School, Kearney Public Schools
“They always learn about qualities that strong leaders have, they learn about teamwork and they have the opportunity to meet other youths across the state who are considered leaders as well.”


Fred Evans, Principal at Pershing Elementary School, Lexington Public Schools
“Career building is one of the main goals in our district…making students college and career ready. Going around and seeing campus and seeing what’s available gets them thinking about the future.”

2Miriam Siegal, Lecturer of Teacher Education in the College of Education, UNK
“UNK has this opportunity to showcase how important leadership is to a young person.
“It gives students a chance to see university life, and see what they can look forward to. There’s always that opportunity to continue to grow.”
“This is one of those events that allows UNK to make a difference.”

1Dena Harshbarger, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education in the College of Education, UNK
“It’s exciting as a campus to have that energy level with the kids here. And our students benefit. It allows us to put our students in a leadership role and they realize that they’re impacting future leaders.”


Source: Sheryl Feinstein, 308.865.8265, feinsteinsg@unk.edu
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, giboneys2@unk.edu

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