Student leaders learn from business professionals

High school students attend the Youth Leadership and the Future Conference at Glendale Community College


Leo Zaldyan

10 Clark juniors and seniors meet at GCC for a youth leadership conference with business professionals from around the community.

Lilit Krkasharian, Yearbook Section Editor

“I really enjoyed going to GCC for the leadership conference being hosted there,” said senior John Bandek. “It was a great way to meet future leaders from our district and nearby districts. It’s wonderful that an event like this exists to teach leadership skills and mentor high school students.” On Jan. 27, Bandek and approximately 50 other high school students from Burbank, Glendale and La Crescenta met at Glendale Community College to participate in the Youth Leadership and the Future Conference. There was an equal number of mentors in attendance, making it possible for each student to work one-on-one with a mentor. Junior Kevin Ghookas enjoyed his time at the conference. “It was a very interesting experience, and we were able to learn a lot about leadership in our community,” Ghookas said. “I worked with Robert Williams, a sergeant at Glendale Police Department, and he shared a lot of life experiences and personal knowledge on leadership with us.”

The day began early, with students arriving as early as 7:30 a.m. to enjoy a continental breakfast provided by the event organizers. Clark students, accompanied by Mrs. Kortoshian and Mrs. Turdjian, were part of this group. After saying the flag salute and hearing the national anthem sung by one of the student leaders in the room, Melina Sardar, President of the Character and Ethics Project, welcomed the participants and introduced a couple of students, including Anna Parsamyan, a senior at Clark, who talked about leadership.

After the students finished their speeches, Jack Ivie, President and CEO of Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital, spoke about his own experiences as a leader. He emphasized several times during his speech that “the best quality in a leader is trustworthiness.”

After Ivie finished his speech, the students and mentors were divided into eight groups and taken to separate rooms. Once in the rooms, the students and mentors paired up, interviewed their partner, and then introduced them to the rest of the group. After the introductions, the groups read and analyzed quotes regarding leadership said by famous people, such as Queen Elizabeth II and Steve Jobs.

Towards the end of the day, the group had a discussion about ethics and morals of people in leadership positions, such as the CEOs of drug companies making life-saving drugs expensive just to turn a bigger profit. This conversation was mostly about the price of HIV/AIDS medicine and the EpiPen increasing.

Junior David Lopez especially liked this part of the day. “The conference was definitely worth going to because we learned many lessons that will be useful in our endeavors,” Lopez said. “We also discussed a lot of semi-controversial topics and determined that just because a leader can do something doesn’t mean that they should do it.”