Co-sponsored by the LMU School of  Education, Center for Catholic Education

Sunday, January 29, 2012
Loyola Marymount University (LMU)
Los Angeles, CA

Click here to see the photos from Student Leadership Day!

More than 160 middle school students (5-8th graders) from 24 Catholic elementary schools around the Archdiocese of Los Angeles gathered at Loyola Marymount University in Southern California on Sunday, January 29 for TACSC’s first 2012 Student Leadership Day.  TACSC celebrated three firsts that day: It was the first Student Leadership Day sponsored by our new partner, the Loyola Marymount School of Education; it was TACSC’s highest single day turnout for a Student Leadership Day; and it was the first time TACSC offered a special program tailored specifically for principals, teachers, moderators, and parents.

Schools in attendance included: St. Anastasia, Notre Dame Academy Elementary, Chaminade College Prep, Hillside Middle School, Immaculate Conception-Annunciation, Jasper Elementary, Los Cerritos, Our Lady of Assumption, Our Lady of Peace, Sacred Heart, Saint Martin of Tours, San Miguel Catholic, St. Anthony, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Barnabas, St. Francis, St. James, St. Jerome,  St. Paschal Baylon, St. Timothy, St. Viator, Sts. Simon & Jude, Trinity Pacific

After a welcome by our Executive Director Gene Detre, TACSC Board President Jim Oswald introduced the program’s keynote speaker Dr. Elizabeth Brewer*, an adjunct professor in the Loyola Marymount School of Education, Center for Catholic Education.  An accomplished speaker and nationally recognized for her research in safe and responsible internet use, Dr. Brewer walked through an engaging and compelling presentation that helped our students better understand how they can demonstrate leadership everyday by modeling the “right way to act” in digital spaces (Facebook, Twitter, etc).  “Beth was great – she really connected with the students and held their attention for the entire 60 minutes,” says Katie Gaitan, a TACSC staff member and presenter from Mater Dei High School. “She gave the kids tangible information and insights that they can apply at home on their IPads tonight and when they check their Facebook accounts on their IPhones over lunch later today.”

Immediately following her remarks to the students, Dr. Brewer met with over 40 principals, teachers, moderators and parents to provide a more detailed set of “How Tos” on helping their kids safely navigate the internet.  Mixing her comments with humorous cartoons, anecdotes, and jaw-dropping findings from her own research, Dr. Brewer provided her audience with a perfect “internet” introduction and primer that principals, teachers, and parents could use immediately at their schools and with their kids. “I loved meeting with the parents and teachers,” says Dr. Brewer. “They asked some great questions that provided me the opportunity to share even more valuable information that I have gathered over the last several years.”  Dr. Brewer will be making her same presentations to the students and the adults at the Northern California Student Leadership Day at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, Saturday, March 17.  She has also agreed to be a part of “TACSC Parents Presents” – TACSC’s new teachers/parents Speakers Program that will launch later this spring.  In addition, she is working closely with the TACSC team to identify new programs and curriculum for the TACSC Summer Leadership Conference.

Nearly 20 of TACSC’s seasoned staff of high school and college students (all of whom are graduates of TACSC’s Summer Leadership Conference) facilitated many parts of the day’s program and provided workshop presentations on:

  • Presenting with Confidence - Students learned valuable tools and techniques to use in presenting oneself to peers and adults, public speaking preparation and delivery and managing individual and group dynamics.
  • Diversity and Acceptance – Building a United Team – students learned skills needed to embrace peoples’ differences, to maximize peoples’ strengths and to promote positive communication skills amongst the group.
  • Officer & Life Leadership Workshops – Students were exposed to team building & collaboration techniques for peers & adults, group management and project planning. Student Council officers discussed how to develop the specific duties of his or her office and maximize the potential of the Student Council team.

Following lunch, the afternoon program came alive as students participated in the “TACSC Leadership Challenge”.  Teams of students applied the information they gleaned from the morning’s workshops as they moved through six stations of “Amazing Race”-like games, quizzes and challenges. “We created the Leadership Challenge to give the students a chance to do some “just in time“ application as they worked through each of the challenges,” says Jim Oswald, creator of the Leadership Challenge.  “The activities place them in situations where if they can use the info they just learned from our staff, they will be significantly more successful and overall better communicators and collaborators and LEADERS in their schools and communities.”

As is traditional with TACSC programs, the LMU Student Leadership Day ended with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Jerry Hayes, Associate Development Director, Loyola High School near downtown Los Angeles.

A student comment heard by one of our TACSC staffers provided a giggle at the end of the day: “Mom, when are we going on vacation this summer?”  Mom smiled curiously and told her son their trip was planned for August. “Good,” he exclaimed, “I’d really like to go the TACSC Summer Leadership Conference at LMU in July!”

*Beth Brewer is an adjunct professor in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University in West Los Angeles. She teaches in the department of specialized programs in urban education and conducts research on the use of technology as a tool to educate middle school students about cyber bullying and its dangers.  Dr. Brewer holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in political science and creative writing from the University of Southern California, a Masters degree in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount, and will be awarded a doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice in May.  Prior to teaching at the university level, Dr. Brewer taught government and economics to 12th grade students at a Catholic school in West Los Angeles.  In addition to her research on cyberbullying, Dr. Brewer is a member of the Culver City Unified School District’s Anti-bullying Task Force and speaks about cyber bullying at conferences and schools across around the country.