Riverview student to attend Jr. National Young Leadership Conference

Ella Harper-Schiehl /Contributed photo

Ella Harper-Schiehl, a 5th grader at Riverview School in Silver Lake, has been selected to represent her school and community as a member of the Junior National Young Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C this summer.

Each year the Congressional Youth Leadership Council nominates exceptional students from around the country to attend an experiential educational program and she is one of the 250 students. An A student, Ella excels at math and reading, loves to play the FrenchhHorn, and recently won first place in the school’s Spelling Bee.

Ella’s participation in the Conference depends on whether she can raise $2,250 in sponsorships.  Not one to be stopped by a seemingly insurmountable task, Ella researched fundraising ideas. After talking it over with her parents, she settled on the sale of baked goods (including lasagnas!) and homemade crafts. With quite a bit of upfront work to do before she could start, Ella decided what to sell. There was the ingredient lists (for labels), a spreadsheet to track orders and payments, and door-to-door sales – all of which Ella did herself. She did as much of the baking as time permits inbetween school hours, homework, selling on the weekends, and her French Horn lessons.

The conference, themed “Voices of Leadership: Reflecting on the Past to Create the Future,” provides motivated students with critical skills that are essential to their success in school and in life. Using real-life simulations and interactive curricula, the program provides students with a solid foundation of success skills to help them become the leaders of tomorrow.

“It is an honor to be nominated to attend this Leadership Conference because each student must be hand selected by their teacher and then approved by the Principal”, Ella said.

Andrea Zachary, Riverview’s principal, said, “Ella demonstrates superior leadership potential, maturity, and independence not only in the classroom, but in all areas and activities in and outside of school. Ella continuously strives for high quality, accuracy, and neatness in her work and has a history of high academic achievement. This conference will allow Ella to explore and strengthen the leadership qualities she already holds and contribute to the strength and character of any organization.”

During the six-day program, Ella and fellow students will take part in educational activities and presentations and explore relevant sites such as Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.’s museums and memorials. In addition to examing notable U.S. leaders and historic figures, students will study the impact of leadership throughout critical periods of American history, including the Civil War and Reconstruction, World War II, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. Upon completion of the program, students gain a greater sense of the role of individuals in American democracy, as well as the responsibilities of being a leader.

“The aim of the Junior National Young Leadership Conference is to inspire students to recognize their own leadership skills, measure their skills against those of current and former leaders and return home with new confidence in their ability to exercise positive influence within their communities,” said Marguerite Regan, Ph.D, Dean of Academic Affairs for the Congressional Youth Leadership Council (CYLC), the organization that sponsors Jr. NYLC. “Young people are not only welcome in Washington, D.C.; they actually keep this city and our country running.”

Local businesses have been extremely supportive: Tess’ Market in Camp Lake and Linda’s Wilmot Cafe in Wilmot opened their doors enabling Ella to contact many residents generously donating in exchange for fresh baked goods. Heidi’s Bakery in Paddock Lake supplied baked goods boxes.

“The experience she is gaining throughout this process is invaluable,” said Michelle Schiehl, Ella’s mother. “She is front and center of it all. She created and manages the spreadsheet for the orders. She lists and labels all the goods. She’s baking whenever it’s physically possible. She’s opened a special account to track the income and distribution of funds for the program. She’s sacrificing time spent with friends on the weekends in order to raise money. She’s balancing homework, crafting, baking, French Horn lessons and oh yeah, still goes to school, too. The lessons are truly in the doing.”

Ella smiles when she says, “Im told I will return from the Conference a changed person – I can’t wait to see who I’ll be!”


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