New members of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council quickly find themselves among new friends from different schools who are similarly motivated to provide valuable leadership to their classmates.
Four SAC seniors were among 100 students at the inaugural National Student Leadership Summit on July 20 in Indianapolis – and again found plenty of common ground with leaders from all over the country also driven to provide strong student voices in their schools and communities.
The event was hosted over three days by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Students were split into discussion groups tackling a variety of topics and also spent time working with Indiana Special Olympians.
Now home, the MHSAA's four representatives – Ben Kowalske of Livonia Stevenson, Bekah Myler of Gaylord St. Mary, Trevor Trierweiler of Portland and Greta Wilker of Belding – reflected briefly on the experience and what they’ll take into this year to pass on both at their schools and to leaders all over Michigan.
What was your first impression of being surrounded by student leaders from all over the country?
Trevor: When I first arrived at the camp I didn't know want to expect; I did not know whether to be nervous, excited or happy. Then when I started being around other leaders with similar personalities, and mindsets, it was easy to be around them and interact with them.
Bekah: My first impression of being surrounded by leaders was that I felt comfortable and secure because I knew everyone around me had the same goal of becoming a better leader.
Ben: At first I was wondering how well all the leaders would mix in during the activities. My first impression was how nice and respectful everyone was.
Greta: I thought it was really cool to see all the leaders from different states and know that we got to be a part of something pretty selective.
What was the most fun part of the trip?
Trevor: I had the most fun during activities with other student leaders, and in the leadership lounge. In the lounge all the student leaders spent time together playing games and enjoying fun activities.
Bekah: Walking to Steak 'n Shake after the dance with my new friends; also hanging out in my room with my roommate who I became good friends with. All in all, I enjoyed meeting new people!
Greta: The most fun part was getting to make friends with kids from across the country and getting to hang out with them for the three days. The late night Steak 'n Shake runs were a lot of fun and just hanging out in the rooms afterwards, just getting to know everyone.
What was the most eye-opening part?
Ben: Not to sound stuck up, but the most eye-opening was how well the MHSAA SAC is doing. Most states don't even have a council, so seeing how much we do and that we have a council unlike most states was eye opening
Bekah: The Special Olympics event opened my eyes. I was able to experience something that I never have before. When I play any given game whether it be checkers or basketball, I have a desire to win. But that day, it wasn't about winning or losing. It was about giving and sharing the joy of accomplishments that so many of us take for granted.
Greta: It was amazing how hard the athletes work and how skilled they are at the sports they play. I got to work with Nick and he was beating me badly in corn hole, but we did make a pretty good team in bocce ball.
Trevor: Seeing the smiles on the Olympians faces really made me feel special and realize how lucky I am.
What did you learn that will be most useful during your senior season, either on the field or off?
Trevor: Two really important things the counselors preached was that everyone has different perspectives. That just because it’s not your way does not mean it’s wrong; it just means someone else may have seen it differently or solved it differently.
Greta: The most useful thing I learned was about relationships with one another and how you can create a positive environment through them – and also how to be a respected leader while still being able to confront others on your team to push them.
Bekah: To be a leader, you don't have to be liked by everyone, but you must gain respect from your teammates and give them a reason to respect you through your actions on and off the field.
Ben: Being a great leader doesn't always mean you have to be the boss or be in charge. You can lead by example by doing the little things, and people will follow you.
Trevor: Another thing that I want to bring back to my school, and teams, is that all players, and people, should be treated equally no matter what age or grade. For example, all players should be delegated (to carry) supplies, not just the freshman or underclassmen.
What from the conference would be best to pass on to student leaders throughout the MHSAA?
Greta: I think the thing to pass on is that you can make an impact; you just have to have the confidence in yourself to do so. Leading is all about the influence you can have on people by setting a good example and believing in yourself.
Ben: Stand up for what is right and always do the right thing, because you never know who is watching.
PHOTOS: (Top) From left, Belding's Greta Wilker, Gaylord St. Mary's Bekah Myler, the MHSAA's Andy Frushour, Livonia Stevenson's Ben Kowalske and Portland's Trevor Trierweiler attend the first-ever National Student Leadership Summit. (Middle) Kowalske and Myler pose with a Special Olympian during their activities as part of the NFHS experience.
Sarah Bradley ♦ Clarkston Everest Collegiate
Junior ♦ Volleyball
The 6-0 outside hitter had 31 kills – tied for sixth-most in an MHSAA Final – with a .419 hitting percentage and 18 digs as Everest Collegiate came back from a two-set deficit to defeat No. 4-ranked Leland in five in Saturday’s Division 4 championship match at Kellogg Arena. The first Finals title in program history capped a tournament run that saw the Mountaineers also win their first Regional title. Everest entered the postseason ranked No. 10 in Division 4 and finished 32-4-2.
Bradley finished the season with 420 kills, adding 15 in a Quarterfinal win over No. 6 Marlette and 25 in a five-set Semifinal victory over top-ranked Adrian Lenawee Christian during which Everest also came back after losing the first two sets. Bradley was named to the Division 4 all-state first team after earning an honorable mention as a sophomore. She also plays basketball, softball and soccer for the Mountaineers and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field as she begins contemplating her college possibilities.
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Past 2023-24 Honorees
Nov. 17: Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10: Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27: Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20: Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13: Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5: Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29: MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22: Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15: Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8: Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1: Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report
(Photos courtesy of the Clarkston Everest Collegiate athletic department.)