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Learning about leadership

Molly Shore

Alexander Hermann has a new sense of independence and responsibility

after returning from an 11-day National Student Leadership Conference

in Washington, D.C.


The Burbank High School senior realizes he and his contemporaries

are the future leaders of this country, but says he isn’t scared of

what the future holds for them.

“People are always going to disagree, but [these students] will


try their hardest and do their best,” said Alexander, 17. “Most of

them are very moral.”

The conference’s mission is to identify and recognize outstanding

young leaders and to provide them with a learning environment that

encourages academic achievement, diversity, cooperation and social


Students were selected for the conference based on academics,

community service and teacher recommendations. As one of 1,100


students nationwide who attended the conference, Alexander said it

was the first time he engaged in serious debate with other students.

“I don’t like leaving my comfort zone, but I definitely had to

leave it and learn how to work with others,” he said.

Alexander participated in an international diplomacy study group

with about 400 students.

“The caliber of kids there was amazing,” he said. “These are

highly intelligent kids from all over the country.”


During the conference, Alexander and his group were given the task

of creating a fictitious country, complete with history, culture,

national anthem, art, literature and songs. They set up trade

alliances and went to war with other countries.

Alexander’s mother, Kathleen Hermann, said she encouraged her son

to attend the conference.

“I just know that he has a real interest and an intelligence,”

Hermann said. “In the beginning, he was a little bit hesitant, but he

came back all sparked up.”

It was interesting to watch how her son matured through the

process, Hermann said.

“It’s an awesome program,” Alexander said enthusiastically. “I

would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys learning.”