Students listening to a speaker

Anticipation was thick in the air as Brentsville District High School’s student leaders eagerly awaited the arrival of their peers for this year's leadership conference. As buses full of attendees from both Brentsville District High and The Nokesville School arrived at the Manassas Boys & Girls Club, host to this year’s 10th annual conference, leadership students took their places to welcome the arrivals and kick-off the event they had worked so hard to plan.

What sets this conference apart is its student-centric approach. Every aspect, from planning and organizing to execution, is driven by students, ensuring that the content is relevant, engaging, and impactful. The conference not only provides a platform for students to highlight their leadership skills but also fosters a culture of learning, growth, and collaboration.

“It’s so easy nowadays to focus on your own little microcosm of life and getting trained to be a potential leader by your peers is very powerful,” shared Julie Dempewolf, Student Government Association sponsor and math teacher at Brentsville. “If you put yourself out there, take risks, stand out, then you have more voice in what happens in the world around you.”

One of the key highlights of the conference was hearing from a Brentsville District alumna, whose story of self-discovery taught her that leadership comes in many forms.

“I think leadership is something that takes time and practice to learn,” shared Morgan Pettit, Brentsville graduate and this year’s keynote speaker. “Putting future leaders in situations together where they can collaborate, learn from one another, and practice these skills that they hopefully will take with them to the real world, is how we make a better future for ourselves.”

Another hallmark of the conference was the focus on interactive sessions and experiential learning. Participants actively engaged in discussions, workshops, and simulations that challenged their thinking, broadened their perspectives, and honed their leadership skills. Whether it is team-building activities, case studies, or leadership challenges, every session is designed to be immersive and transformative.

“I’m going to try and incorporate what I learned here today into my life because I feel like I’m not a people person but being here today really helped me open up and with my social skills,” said Amiley, a participant in the conference shared.

“I plan to join SGA next year, and then I want to run for president the year after that,” shared Tom, an eighth grader at the Nokesville School inspired by the conference to step up into student leadership.

Looking ahead, the future of the conference is bright with endless possibilities. With each passing year, it continues to evolve, innovate, and impact more lives, leaving a lasting legacy of leadership excellence for generations to come.