Meet the Leadership Shawnee Mission Class of 2021

Meet the Leadership Shawnee Mission Class of 2021
Shawnee Mission School District

The fourth cohort of Leadership Shawnee Mission students recently completed the prestigious leadership development program. See a video about the leadership learning here. Twenty-two rising junior and senior students, representing all high schools, participated in the two-week program sponsored by the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation in partnership with the Tucker Leadership Lab at William Jewell College. 

Bright and hardworking students are nominated by a teacher, counselor, or administrator and then invited to apply to the program.

“We have high expectations for our leaders,” Kim Hinkle, executive director of the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation said. “While the program is only two weeks long, we count on these students to step into leadership roles as they continue their Shawnee Mission journey. We continue to give them leadership opportunities and we know we can count on them to impress us with their grit and resilience.”

After the class concludes, the Foundation continues to help guide them on their leadership path, from introducing them to professionals in their field to writing college recommendation letters to providing references for future jobs. Once they join the program, they are Leadership Shawnee Mission alums for life Hinkle noted.

During the two weeks, students participated in a number of activities and exercises related to developing their leadership skills and learning about different leadership models, methods, and values.  

This year’s class was paired with a mentor from a career field of their interest. The students learned professional skills including how to craft a resume, build a LinkedIn profile, and how to best tell their story. They were able to practice these skills when they met with their mentors at two different times during the course.

Solomon Washington, SM Northwest senior, with an interest in engineering, was paired with Gage Oberheu, mechanical designer at Henderson Engineers and SM Northwest graduate. 

“It is a pleasure to work with Solomon as mentoring is one of my passions,” Oberheu shared. 

Students made plans with their mentors to job shadow, attend presentations, and connect on LinkedIn.

“Having a connection with a mentor opens new doors and opportunities we would never have,” Annaliese Nguyen, SM Northwest junior, shared. Nguyen was connected with Stephanie Wise, Chief Nursing Officer & VP of Nursing, AdventHealth, because of her interest in healthcare.

Two of the days were spent at the Tucker Leadership Lab on the campus of William Jewell College. Students were faced with a variety of challenges to build trust, communication, and confidence that included a ground course, climbing tower, and low and high-ropes challenge courses.

“I learned to do more listening and know when to give my input and when to be more thoughtful,” Julius Saisi Jr., SM West senior, noted. “This class really helped me improve my social and speaking skills.”

As the students participated in their graduation ceremony, Al Leone, Tucker Leadership Lab director, shared the ways leaders can make a positive impact, always beginning with, “earn your leadership every day.”