Nine Rappahannock Community College (RCC) students, accompanied by RCC’s Dean of Student Development Dr. David Keel, and Student Engagement Specialist Tyhesha Smith, recently attended the VCCS Student Leadership Conference in Roanoke. Titled, “The Rebuild,” the conference united students from the 23 Virginia community colleges for the first time in two years.
Attendees participated in sessions and workshops designed to build confidence, boost presentation skills, and provide a place to discuss challenging societal issues. Sessions ranged from professional networking to brushing up communications skills, finding motivation and leadership, the power of a good elevator pitch…even using LEGO blocks to visualize new thinking about connections.
“It was a fun experience. I got to meet a lot of people from other Virginia colleges,” said Randi Harrell, one of RCC’s students. “I learned ways to balance my life and take care of my mental health.”
Keynote speaker Hoan Do, an award-winning inspirational speaker, author of Succeeding in the Real World, and finalist for NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” shared practical strategies for “Becoming an Outstanding Leader.” Harrell enjoyed Do’s presentation and said she learned ways to increase positive self-talk and gain self-confidence.
At the forefront of this year’s conference was creating awareness of food insecurities. Students participated in an event inspired by “Rise Against Hunger,” a global organization that envisions a “World Without Hunger” and empowers communities to help end hunger. Students worked in groups to prep and pack ingredients for 20,000 meals to be distributed to communities in need of food supplies.
There was also time for fun, including karaoke competitions, cornhole tournaments, and a room full of inflatables. Students could also talk one-on-one with representatives from four-year colleges and universities like Virginia Tech, Liberty, Randolph, and others.
More than 200 students from across the state attended this year’s conference. “It was a great experience and I hope I can attend again next year,” concluded Harrell.