St. F.X. campus played host to the Nova Scotia Secondary School Student’s Association’s (NSSSA) 2016 provincial conference May 19 to 22.
The conference, titled Exceeding Expectations, included skill-building sessions, entertainment activities such as a talent show and three keynote speakers which included motivational speakers Tyler Hayden and Jeff Britton as well as former NHL defenseman Jim Kyte, known for a long and successful career while playing as the league’s first (and to-date, only) legally deaf player.
A couple of Cape Breton students co-chaired the conference; Jenna MacEachern from Port Hawkesbury and Tiffany MacLennan from Sydney.
In conversation with the Casket May 20, MacEachern talked about the chosen titled – Exceeding Expectations.
“We chose that because high school students are leaders and always exceed expectations of what they can do,” she said.
“People tend to think high school students can’t plan these types of conferences but, clearly, by planning these we see high school students can organize these and exceed your expectations. They’re exceeding your expectations every day with what they do.”
MacLennan talked about returning to St. F.X. and Antigonish as a venue for the conference.
“The team here [at St. F.X.] is great. They help us in every way they can and they’re always in contact with us,” she said.
“The campus is gorgeous and it’s logistically perfect for us. It’s always easy to go back-and-forth between places … like the Keating Centre which is great for speakers.”
As for the speakers, the co-chairs noted their significance, apart from delivering powerful messages for conference delegates.
“Two of our speakers, Jeff Britton and Tyler Hayden, are NSSSA alumni and our third speaker, Jim Kyte has connections to St. F.X.,” MacLennan said. “So it’s kind of us giving back to who has given to us.”
As for what she hopes the delegates will take away from the conference, MacEachern said she hopes it will bring attendees “out of their shell.”
“To really see who they can become when they break out … just show them what they can do,” she said.
“I know, personally for me, I really love seeing the delegates’ progression from day one to day four. It’s the largest and longest [NSSSA] conference you can attend so you can actually see the delegates come in Thursday, day one, they are a little weary, not quite sure what it is, but by the last day they’re cheering and talking to new people they didn’t know before. It’s just great to see them come out of their shells that way.”
MacLennan added she hopes the attendees take away the idea they can make a difference in their schools and communities.
“To know they’re leaders in any sense of the word,” she said. “You don’t have to be a president [of a group/organization] to be a leader, you just have to step up.
“And we want them to have a lot of fun, to make friends.”
MacLennan said it’s great to see all the preparation work pay dividends.
“Our committee has been working around the clock since September to make this conference come together, so it’s great to be here and see that,” she said.
Speaking at the conclusion of the conference, NSSSA vice-president external, Micci Davy, said it was a great four days.
“Overall, Exceeding Expectations was a huge success,” Davy said. “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to work with our partners at St. F.X. Together we were able to provide more than 400 high school students, from across the province, with the skills to become Nova Scotia’s next generation of leaders.”