Seventh grade students from all Otoe County Schools participated in SAIL (Students Accelerating in Leadership) at Syracuse Middle School Feb. 16.  The all day conference included students from Lourdes, Nebraska City, Syracuse, and Palmyra, and featured speaker Lamarr Womble kicked off the event with the opening assembly.
His message was a combination of challenging students to find their passion in life and encouraging them to always treat people well along the way.  After the opening, students were divided into smaller groups and rotated through sessions on various topics.  In his session, “Passion Class,” he hit some main points with students including finding their passion, letting people feel good, genuinely getting to know people, remembering names, remaining humble, and other lessons on how to be successful in life.
A class of Nebraska City High School students taught a session on Anti-bullying: Leadership for Positive Role Models.  They opened up discussion by showing a video with a message from Reid Adler’s parents.  The 15 year old  Ralston student took his own life January 7 after being bullied through social media.  The video was featured on KETV news in January, and the Adlers urged kids to reach out and talk to their parents about their problems no matter how embarrassing or painful it may be to discuss them.
In addition to the anti-bullying message, the students attended sessions on Team=building (by Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries), The Effects of Drugs (by Region 5 Systems), College-Bound (by Education Quest), Passion Class (with Lamarr Womble), and Communication (by the National Guard).
The SAIL conference was first conducted in Syracuse in 2009; this was the eighth year that Otoe County students have participated.  Eighth grade students, who attended this last year, were together at another location for the day.  The event was sponsored by Nebraska City United Way, United Against Violence, and St. Mary’s; all are affiliated with Partners for Otoe County who organizes the funding.