Megan Tilford to attend HOBY the summer of 2008
According to the HOBY organization, 98 percent of the students attending the conferences know what steps they need to take to be a better leader by the time they return home. Participants in HOBY develop leadership skills through intense but informal panel discussions with community leaders in business, technology, education, government, arts and science.
HOBY programs are conducted annually throughout the United States to help local and international students develop leadership skills. O’Brian founded the organization in 1958, following a visit with Dr. Albert Schweitzer at his hospital in the African jungles. During the nine-day visit, Schweitzer, a 1952 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, convinced O’Brian that in order for global peace to become a reality, young people needed to be taught to think for themselves.
O’Brian began his work by offering leadership programs to male high school sophomores from California at an annual conference in Los Angeles. The motto of every program is to teach students “how to think, not what to think.”
In 1972 female sophomores were also invited to conferences. By 1982 every state had a conference and high schools throughout the country nominated a sophomore representative to attend.
In Westwood, students usually compete for the honor of attending HOBY by submitting a resume and a short essay to a selection committee. However, this year Tilford was invited to attend when no one signed up. After speaking with last year’s representative from Westwood High, Tilford said she decided it would be a good experience.
At HOBY students are not only challenged to become critical thinkers but also encouraged to put their leadership skills to work through community involvement. Following the conference, a representative is eligible to receive the Congressional Award by completing a community service project that requires a minimum of 100 hours of work.
Leadership is a familiar role for Tilford. She held a class office from sixth through ninth-grade and plans to run again in her junior year. Currently, she is passionate about sports and participates in volleyball, basketball and softball.
“I love to play sports and be active. I think basketball is my favorite sport because there is more contact with the other team. You get involved with other people not just your teammates. It challenges you a lot more,” said Tilford.
Although Tilford has not decided on a college major, she plans to go to San Jose State. Tilford said she chose that college because she has lots of family in the area including an aunt and uncle, grandparents and a brother. However, whatever her final career choice happens to be she does think HOBY will have an impact.
“I have heard lots of good things about HOBY. I have heard it helps a lot and it is fun to go,” said Tilford.
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