What started as a conversation at the kitchen table between Pooja D’Souza and her two sons, Rahul, 11, and Ajay, 8, evolved into Saturday’s Learn. Lead. Launch! leadership conference for middle- and high-school students.
Created by a group that included D’Souza and her sons, Mona Singh and her son, Arjan Kahlon (a seventh grader at the Independence School), Ananya Singh (a Sanford School senior and member of Global Youth Help) and Neel Anand (a sophomore at Wilmington Charter and founder of First Hack Delaware Chapter), Learn. Lead. Launch! is about leadership — but not just about preparing to be leaders of tomorrow.
“The goal of the conference was to show kids that they are capable of being leaders now, in everything they do. They don’t have to wait to be older,” said D’Souza. “It’s about a positive attitude and being able to communicate effectively.”
About 40 ambitious high school and middle school kids spent their Saturday at the conference at the Independence School in Newark.
“They were doing public speaking exercises, positivity games, a collaboration exercise to get them to work together, and sample coding making a mad libs game!” D’Souza said. “We wanted to keep it as interactive as possible and at their level.”
The speakers were:
- Lt. Commander Will Bowden (who was called for duty so he spoke via Skype)
- Ryan Haydu — public speaking and confidence
- Mona Parikh and Mac Nagaswami — entrepreneurship and collaboration
- Meghan Pasricha — entrepreneurship on social service
- Kris Vaddi — entrepreneurship with STEM
- John Himics — internet safety and marketing
- Neel Anand — entrepreneurship with coding
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