Cuyahoga Heights High School sophomore Anna Patterson attended a three-day two night leadership conference this past June, and it changed her life!
As this year’s recipient of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award (HOBY) representing CHHS, Patterson participated in the seminar along with about 100 other sophomores at John Carroll University. “The weekend was full of tons of different activities to learn about the type of leader we are, working together, learning many different aspects of leading and also following, but most importantly, how to step out of our comfort zones,” said Patterson about her experience. “We learned how to work with others we've never met and to share parts of ourselves we weren't prepared to through various exercises. We ended the weekend by talking about how we can take what we learned and help not only ourselves, but our peers, our communities, and the entire world.”
The participants also completed a service project which included remulching a hiking trail head that was created by a group of disabled and neurodivergent individuals. Patterson is now working to become a HOBY alumnus by completing 100 service hours over the next year, gaining the opportunity to volunteer at next year’s conference.
“All in all, HOBY was an incredible experience for me and taught me so much about myself and the way that my actions and leadership can affect others. It was such a breathtaking experience that really gave me back twice as much as I put into it. But the most important takeaway was learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortableness and to try new things”.
Recognized as one of the world’s most prominent organizations focused on youth leadership, HOBY was founded by the actor Hugh O’Brian in 1958, after spending nine days in Africa working with the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer, HOBY helps high schoolers to identify their leadership abilities and to apply those skills to their communities and the world. Since its inception, the organization remains focused on its original mission: to inspire and develop a community dedicated to a life of leadership, service, and innovation. More than 12,000 students from 7,200 high schools are represented at leadership conferences each year.