Conference inspires future leaders


TMHS Broadcast

HOBY representative Julia Nguyen traveled to a leadership conference as a sophomore.

Faith Fuller, Staff Writer

Early on a summer morning, most high schoolers are still fast asleep. But at 6 a.m. one morning each summer, a group of specially selected sophomores walk through the doors of the HOBY State Leadership Seminar, and any drowsiness is melted away by enthusiastic cheers and anticipation for the weekend ahead. 

HOBY (short for Hugh O’Brian Youth) Leadership Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire leadership qualities in young people around the world through a variety of events and programs.

TMHS traditionally sent one sophomore each year to participate in the State Leadership Seminar, a three-day HOBY conference where students participate in various activities centered around personal growth. However, Principal Mike Metz has decided to change things up a little this year.

“The school covers the cost of the student that is selected,” Counselor and HOBY Coordinator Mindy Fuller said. “This year, Dr. Metz wants to send two representatives, so we’ll be able to provide this unique experience to two of our sophomores instead of one.”

It might be awkward at first, but it’s totally worth it, and you get to have a wider perspective of others.”

— Julia Nguyen

After picking up and filling out a HOBY application from her counselor, current junior Julia Nguyen was chosen as last year’s TMHS HOBY representative. On a Friday morning last summer, she and a group of other sophomores from schools around the state arrived at the University of Houston and began their once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“When we got there, there was a group of people waiting for us, and they did a lot of cheers as we walked through the doors,” Nguyen said. “Then they led us to our dorm rooms.”

The next several days were filled with team activities, volunteering, and learning experiences as the HOBY participants developed their leadership and teamwork skills.

“On Saturday we did our volunteering activity and team building skills – we did a lot of stations that help build trust,” Nguyen said. “All three days, we heard several lectures from people who have different leadership experiences.”

A big part of HOBY is the positive atmosphere. Students learn cheers that get them excited and bring them together.

“My favorite part was learning all the cheers and doing them with everyone,” Nguyen said. “You would think people wouldn’t want to do them because they’re lame or whatever, but they were actually a lot of fun. It was very positive and uplifting.”

HOBY is an ideal opportunity for students to enhance their social skills and ability to work with others.

“I wanted to build my leadership skills, because I can be kind of awkward, so it really helped me,” Nguyen said. “I got to learn how to work as a team, and I met a lot of new people.”

The unfamiliar environment might be a drawback for some kids, but for students like Nguyen, the long-term benefits of HOBY are well worth the initial nerves. 

“My advice would be to go for it,” Nguyen said. “It might be awkward at first, but it’s totally worth it, and you get to have a wider perspective of others.”

Students interested in applying for the HOBY conference can pick up an application sheet from their counselor and turn it in by November 8th. After reviewing all the applications, a committee made up of TMHS staff members will choose two students to attend the conference.