Dolores has no shortage of leaders, and last week, one more joined the ranks. Student Tristan Holgate was recently nominated as an ambassador for the 2015 Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership conference, which took place in Lakewood.
HOBY is a national organization that promotes leadership in the young people of today. To participate in the conference, high school sophomores are nominated by their teachers. The potential candidates are recognized by their communication skills, problem solving, critical and creative thinking, and a variety of other traits.
Once at the conference, the attendees are put in groups and treated to a rich three days of activities and speakers, sprinkled with cheers and dance parties. They build on their existing skills and constantly learn more. Holgate was assigned a group on the first day, and by the last day their bond was strong. "By far my favorite part of HOBY was bonding with my group," said Holgate. "I mean, I met them on the first day and I didn't know any of them, and then I managed to form some amazing friendships with them."
When they weren't inside, the ambassadors were out working hard. They volunteered at Buchtel Park and Debeor Park, picking up trash, weeding, and mulching.
Dolores sends at least one student every year to the conference. Many of them return to HOBY each year, and always bring something back. Alina Umberger, who returned for her fourth year as an assistant facilitator, brought back No Makeup Mondays and speaker Jamie Utt, who gave his tearing down the wall of hate speech to Dolores schools two years ago. Last years nominee Larissa Umberger gave a presentation to the school about body image, and returned this year as a junior staff. Who knows, Holgate may return to HOBY too. "The experience I had was probably the best experience I've ever had," he acknowledged. "It was probably the greatest thing I've done in my life."