Leaders in the Limelight

Aleysha Rivera Bocachica, Staff Writer

A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. Leaders are regarded as being essential members of not only sports teams, but in any setting. Recently, the Eastern Connecticut Conference hosted a leadership conference at Port and Starboard at New London’s Ocean Beach. The conference was held to honor high school students who have shown leadership abilities in not only an athletic, but also an academic setting.

Eight NFA student athletes, Seamus Sullivan, Ryan Foster, Hailee Schrader, Adelino Daveiga, Jill Irvine, Wendy Gethers, Cameron Belton, and Andy Ng attended with coaches Luke Gabordi, Anthony Turgeon, and Courtney Gomez ’04, who served as speakers at the event.

“I was selected because my coach believes that I, and a few others, will be able to lead the team in a positive way,” said lower Belton.

The conference focused on  topics such as  sportsmanship and leadership qualities and skills. The student-athletes answered questions in groups of 6-7 about what leadership is, what makes a leader, and how to become an overall better leader. In addition, they communicated with other leaders from schools around Connecticut in order to determine ways in which a leader should have stepped in during a variety of scenarios.

“It’s very important to me that I got selected to attend this conference,” said upper Daveiga. ” It shows that people are depending on me to help them get through [obstacles] or be that guy out of the crowd that can be the outlier and tell them to stop. It makes you think more about situations, because you have to do what’s best for the team. This whole event has been a very humbling experience for me. I would just like to thank Mr. Bakoulis and my mother for helping me be the person I am today.”

The program not only placed an emphasis on leadership, but on how to conduct oneself both on and off the field.

“Communication as a leader is key. Being a leader is a very important and big responsibility to have. My coaches, my teachers, and my community have shaped me into what I am today. I have the power to lead people in the right direction, and knowing that there are programs like these that help other leaders come together to help positively impact our communities is awesome,” commented Belton.

“Leadership is a quality that is essential to have in an athletic program,” said physical education teacher Turgeon. “As leaders, students must act in a way that positively impacts their teammates and peers every day.  Good leadership allows teams and programs to flourish not only in one single season, but also in future seasons because of the lasting impact strong, positive leadership has on underclassmen.  It is a quality that a winning and successful athletic program cannot be without.”

“This event has made it clear to me that I can lead people. It makes me feel that I have a very important part in the team” stated Belton.