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Fort Dodge Senior High Students Attend Iowa Alliance Leadership Conference

February 21, 2024

On Wednesday, January 24th 12 students from Fort Dodge Senior High were chosen to represent the Dodgers in the second annual Iowa Alliance Student Leadership Conference held at Des Moines Hoover High School. Students spent the morning session listening to featured speaker Jamy Bechler, author, motivational speaker, leadership consultant, and host of the popular “Success is a Choice” podcast. Bechler, also a championship athletic director and winning college basketball coach, talked with the students about a number of topics, including leadership, culture, and teamwork. The afternoon session was spent listening and asking questions to a panel of current Iowa Alliance Conference Activities Directors. The students left the conference with a lot of information on what it means to be a well-rounded and successful student-athlete. 

“It was a great opportunity for some of our students to meet some other student leaders from the schools in the IAC,” said FDSH Activities Director, Brandon Ruffridge. “I think they gained some different ideas and perspectives on leadership and how to lead in positive and uplifting ways.”


Students involved spoke about their experience at the Leadership Conference:

My favorite part about the conference was the main quote that he repeated, “Integrity is NOT situational”. He talked about things that I could relate to in my sports and teams! - Mackenzie McIlrath, Senior


My favorite example was when he said to make sure you are still staying prepared and uplifting your teammates even when you’re on the bench. I love how he gave us a visual of two people with different mindsets when they were on the bench. ALSO, I can’t believe I forgot the best part. He said, “What’s between excuses? U” That one quote changed my whole perspective, very eye-opening. - Simeon Roberts, Sophomore


Throughout this speech my favorite part was the video of the crabs, basically, he showed us a video of crabs in a bucket trying to escape, every time a crab tried to get out another crab would pull it down. The main message was that if one person fails or continues to fail, they don’t want to see you succeed. If the other crabs can’t get out of the bucket, they are not going to let the other crabs climb out. As a leader, this impacted my thinking because it made me think of people who don’t want to succeed. If you want to be great and succeed you have to put the work in, and the main thing is don’t worry about others. If you see someone is succeeding or excelling at something more than you are, use that to your advantage to push yourself harder. -Teryn Rippentrop, Sophomore


While at the conference I learned that you should never be a crab because if you're a crab then you will only bring others down and will never have the chance to grow. I also learned that there are 2 types of leaders, those who push forward and those who only hold up back. A great quote I heard from the speaker that best explains people is "You will be blinded by what you hope to find, but will miss the other opportunities." I think this is a strong quote because people will only find what they are looking for but they will miss out on different opportunities that may never occur again. This can impact a leader so much because if they are so focused on one thing, they will miss all the little details and the team will fall apart.  - Brady Major, Junior


At the Iowa Alliance Conference Leadership Seminar, we attended this past January 24th, there was one thing he talked about that stuck out to me in particular. He discussed the Redwood National Park and its massive trees that flood the park. Oddly enough, these trees have very short roots but are the tallest and largest trees in the country. Each tree links its roots with one another to create a strong and sustainable foundation. If one tree were to stand alone, it would be knocked down due to its unlatched roots. One tree alone is weak, but when linked together as a whole forest, it is much stronger. This reminds me of every team or every organization I have been part of, when you have other strong individuals next to you, you are much stronger than if you were to stand alone. Latching roots with other individuals creates a pack, an unbreakable one. - Macy Brown, Senior


I learned how to be a good student-athlete, and in order to be that for my team you have to encourage and lead your team, In the conference he said sometimes the spotlight won't always be on you. Sometimes you have to encourage your teammates to get the best possible results out of them, that's what a good leader does.  - Shawn Roberts, Junior

People who bring you down are like crabs. They will pull you down when they can't succeed. No one wants to be a crab. Rather than being a crab be someone who lifts others up and pushes people to be better. - Omarion Myers-Zimmerman, Senior


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