Grade 8s Ready to Host Inspiring Leadership Conference


Grade 8 students are walking the talk next week, as they put their passion for leadership into action by organizing and hosting a leadership conference for kids their own age.

The group of SMUS students will welcome nearly 100 Grade 8s from other schools on Vancouver Island and from the Lower Mainland to campus next Friday (January 29) to host “Passion to Action”.

“We chose that theme so we can help people figure out what their passion is and then give them ways to put it into action,” says Grade 8 co-organizer Owen S.

“You know those ideas you have: ‘Oh this is such a good idea,’ and then you think, ‘Oh, some other person probably has a better idea so I’ll just forget about my idea.’? We want that to stop,” says co-organizer Mareya V. “You actually should be taking your idea and striving to make it happen. And if you think someone else’s idea is better, try to combine them and make a better idea!”

The full-day event will feature presentations from keynote speakers Anna Soole and Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek. Students will be able to attend multiple workshops throughout the day – run mostly by SMUS teachers and students! – that focus on a wide variety of leadership topics.

The workshops are:

  • Improvisation – A fun way to conquer your fears  (Mr. Duncan Frater and Anna Considine)
  • Understand Your Strengths and Plan for Your Future (Claire Clarke)
  • Take Initiative and Feel Good about Your Decision (Rev. Keven Fletcher)
  • Leading your Peers – From Current School Prefects (Sarah Jones and Jasper Johnston, Head Girl and Boy)
  • Motivating Others to Join You (Mrs. Becky Anderson)
  • Assertiveness and Empowerment Skills (Anna Soole)
  • Public Speaking  (Mrs. Susan Vachon)
  • Having an Innovative Mindset (Mrs. Tanya Lee)
  • Self Awareness and Confidence (Ms. Allison Peace)

There will also be a focus on getting attendees to step outside of their comfort zone and mingle with students from other schools. Both Owen and Mareya say that all the Middle School organizers want students to leave with a larger network of friends, which can hopefully translate to putting their passions into action.SMUS-Gr8-PassionToAction

“We want them to leave feeling inspired about their goals. [We want them to ] make new friends, have a lot of great connections here and just leave happy,” Mareya says.

“It is school, so you want them to learn something,” says Owen. “But you want them to have an idea of what they want to do, and if they have an idea they’ll leave knowing how to evolve the idea, make it bigger and make it into something they really enjoy doing or creating.”

A group of 19 Grade 8 students have been organizing the event since the start of Term 2 as part of the Middle School Exploratory program. With direction from the SMUS Director of Leadership, Becky Anderson, and Middle School Assistant Director Dariol Haydock, the students have had their hand in all aspects of planning and organizing the conference.

“I wanted to do something to get more involved in the school, and I thought since it’s going to be an amazing experience just to be there, to help plan it would be really awesome as well,” Owen says.

“I’ve learned where my strengths are in organizing,” Mareya says. “You get to play a large role, everybody in the Exploratory plays a role that really contributes in organizing the event.”

Learn more about the Passion to Action Grade 8 conference at

Last year, two Grade 8 students – Abdul and Garry – wrote about their experiences as organizers and attendees at the 2015 Grade 8 Leadership Conference. Read more on the SMUS Review.

(photo by Kyle Slavin)


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