More than 400 students, parents, grandparents and well-wishers filled Page Hall at Westmont College on Sunday for the Global Leadership Connection Awards Ceremony.
More than 150 student leaders from seven Santa Barbara County high schools, after being nominated by their schools, participated in the GLC Leadership Conference, co-sponsored by UCSB, SBCC and Westmont.
A brief video commenced the ceremony and had the students laughing over some of the out-of-the-box ways they learned to connect with fellow students and recalling the heartfelt advice and support given by seminar speakers Lee Mikles and Dennis Patrick.
“Many leadership programs look for leaders and award the top students. GLC not only does this but develops these already strong leaders into stronger ones,” said 2011 Male Youth Leader Kai Gamble, a senior at Laguna Blanca School. “I am so honored to have been part of it and recognized for being a top leader.”
Each student, all juniors in high school, after submitting an application including a written essay, received an individual and group interview by leaders in the Santa Barbara community. Twenty-three student leaders were selected based on a specific set of criteria to receive financial scholarships.
The top four awards for 2012 went to Forbes Bainou of Dos Pueblos High School, who received the Santa Barbara Male Youth Leader of the Year, Busch Family $1,000 Scholarship; Daria Etezadi of Laguna Blanca, who received the Santa Barbara Female Youth Leader of the Year, the Jamie Harder $1,000 Scholarship; and Thomas Aijian of Bishop Garcia Diego High School and Katrina Rocha of Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, who received the Leaders in Excellence, Patrick Family $500 Scholarships.
These four students will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the GLC Leadership Experience in Washington, D.C., where they will meet with other GLC students from across the country.
Ambassador Awards of $100 were given to 15 other students: Jamie Elster of San Marcos, Hunter Totemeier of Santa Ynez, Noria Matanick of Carpinteria, Matt Wagonhurst of Santa Barbara, Danielle Devries of Bishop Diego, Ramin Parvinjah of San Marcos, Katie Boorhis of Santa Ynez, Austin Herrick-Trevillian of Santa Barbara, Collin Blout of Lompoc, Tyler Thomas of Cabrillo, Kathryn Joseff of Santa Barbara, Bernarno Celis of Santa Ynez, Casey Dwire of Dos Pueblos, Eddie Conk of Laguna Blanca and Troy Skinner of Bishop.
“I am very grateful for volunteers like Carole Harder and the entire GLC committee, who have developed a community which exemplifies authentic leadership and is devoted to encouraging young leaders,” said Bainou, the 2012 Male Youth Leader.
Global Leadership Connection was begun by Harder, an inspirational, engaging speaker who has facilitated more than 3,000 productivity and self-management seminars throughout the country. She has participated as a team-building communication life coach for the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and Beijing. She has been motivating young people for more than 30 years and has brought other GLC chapters to UCLA, San Diego and Iowa. Of particular pride to her is the UCLA chapter, as it will be run by college students who formerly participated in GLC programs.
Members of the Santa Barbara Leadership Team, led by chairwoman Kim Busch, are Paula and Dennis Patrick, Andy Busch, Alexandra Harder, Lori and Lee Mikles, Maria and Joe Fazio, Stacy and Ron Pulice, Marie Sexton, Lindsay McTavish, Wendy Moakler, Michelle Hughes, TK Erickson and Mary Jackson. All involved in GLC serve as volunteers. They serve because they believe that the compassionate, remarkable students in this program are some of the greatest natural resources our nation has and that they will continue to make a positive difference in our community and world.