Eight Iowa Mennonite School students were among 400 from 31 high schools who participated in the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center Pursuing Victory With Honor Summit at Carver Hawkeye Arena on the University of Iowa campus Tuesday, October 10. The eight students are IMS student government (Y-CO) representatives, and include seniors Reggie Borntrager, Angela Marcelino, Monet Slabach, and Palmer Thomas; juniors Caleb Gingerich and Samantha Miller; and sophomores Mia Graber and Max Martens.
The summit focused on leadership and was designed to give the students tools to use as leaders. The event began at 7:30 with a breakfast, followed by a welcome and short presentation by Head Baseball Coach Rick Heller of the Big Ten Champion Iowa Hawkeyes. Coach Heller’s talk focused on doing things the right way, and emphasized character, integrity, and teamwork as he stressed the process involved in the work of any team or organization. Three break-out sessions gave the students an opportunity to participate in interactive activities, watch related videos, and listen to dynamic presentations around the themes of commitment, motivation, and accountability. Following the break-out sessions and lunch, former Hawkeye and NFL kicker Nate Kaeding was the event’s final speaker, and the event concluded at 1:30 p.m.
When asked her takeaway from the event, Monet Slabach said, “Often there is the assumption that leaders are the loud voices at the front of the room that are somehow natural-born leaders. In reality leadership often happens more in truly listening to others and also involves an aspect of following.” Guidance Counselor Dwight Gingerich accompanied the group, and said, “It was great to see the group work well together and have a good time doing it. There was a good mix of activities that kept the large group engaged, and the material was very relevant to what students experience on a daily basis. This was a terrific opportunity for these students. The presenters were very encouraging, and Lisa Brinkmeyer from the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union even took the time between events to encourage Mia Graber, as she could relate to having torn an ACL as an athlete from her playing days at Drake University, a very warm and meaningful gesture on her part.”
The summit moves to different parts of the state each year, and this was the first time in Iowa City since the fall of 2012.