JOHN HALLORAN, a junior at Coal City High School, has been selected to participate in the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership World Leadership Congress to be held this month in Chicago.
Ann Gill Editor
When John Halloran arrived at Loyola University last month he was looking forward to meeting new people and developing skills to be a leader among his peers. In just two and one-half days he achieved his goal.
"The best part for me was meeting people," Halloran said of his attendance at the Hugh O'Brien Youth (HOBY) Leadership Conference in Chicago.
In addition to learning skills that will make him a better leader in both his school and community, Halloran had the opportunity to develop a better understanding of different cultures. His experience found him meeting teens with a multitude of cultural backgrounds.
"It made me more open minded to accept differences," Halloran said.
Later this month, he'll have an opportunity to further expand his understanding of world cultures as a participant in HOBY's World Leadership Congress.
The week-long program brings together teenagers from all 50 states and more than one dozen countries. Participants engage in leadership and team building exercises designed to provide them with an exploration of the four levels of leadership-personal, group, societal and global.
Halloran is looking forward to this next step in his HOBY experience.
Initially nominated by his teachers as one of two Coal City High School students to take part in the program, Halloran was selected to attend the World Leadership Conference by program facilitators and staff.
The high school junior was one of 10 attendees at the Chicago conference-five males and five females- to be interviewed for one of two available spots at the leadership congress.
The interview focused on his experience at the conference, what he learned and what he would take from the sessions to help better his school and community.
On the final day of the conference, his selection to the World Leadership Congress was announced during the closing ceremonies. He will be one of four students from Illinois-two each from the north and south conferences-taking part in program at Loyola University from July 19 to 26.
"I think this is going to be a lot of fun and I hope to meet individuals with a variety of cultures and from different countries," Halloran said.
The teen has always had an interest in language and culture, and his participation in the program has him looking to a future that includes both.
The World Leadership Congress strives to teach students to think critically about issues facing the world and to take action to make positive changes, as well as to empower students to discover their own leadership style and develop those skills
Additionally, the program teaches the importance of providing service to others and giving back to the community. Each participant is challenged to commit to giving 250 hours of service to their community in the year following the program.
During the HOBY Leadership Conference in June, Halloran and his fellow participants spent an entire day in service to the host city. Students cleaned a city street, leaving positive messages behind and then volunteered at two charities-PAWS Chicago and Stuffed Love.
Another day of community service in the city is on the agenda for leadership congress attendees.
Halloran said his participation in HOBY has sparked an interest in becoming more involved in school activities by taking leadership roles in some of the programs he's involved with, he may even take a run at a class office.
"Through this experience I do feel more comfortable talking in front of people, I was open to take part in activities that I normally wouldn't do at home," he said.
At CCHS, Halloran is a student ambassador, member of the math team, varsity club and participates in the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering. He also serves on the Unit 1 Wellness Committee and competes with the tennis team.
Halloran is the son of Dr. Patrick and Dawn Halloran, of Coal City.