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Lyon College Mortar Board holds leadership conference for high school students

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the Lyon College Mortar Board Honor Society hosted a leadership conference for about 50 local high school students from Batesville, Cave City, Cedar Ridge, Concord, Midland and Southside.

The conference started with opening remarks from Mortar Board faculty adviser Dr. Irosha Nawarathne and Mortar Board president Natalie Milligan, who explained the purpose of the conference.

According to Milligan, Mortar Board is a national honor society recognizing college seniors for their scholarship, leadership, and service. She said that Lyon’s chapter of Mortar Board had several service projects throughout the year, including the conference.

“We want to do everything we can to uphold the ideals of Mortar Board,” said Milligan. “Our focus for you all today is leadership. We hope today you’ll learn as much as possible and gain confidence in yourself and your ability to become a leader in the future.”

Following Milligan, two keynote speakers, Provost Melissa Taverner and Associate Dean of Students and Director of Diversity Lai-Monté Hunter, spoke about liberal arts education and characteristics of being a leader.

“When you hear the term liberal arts, we aren’t referring to a political point of view,” said Taverner. “We are talking about the breadth of study that students receive while they’re enrolled here. Students meaningfully engage a diverse range of topics… You as an educated person would have a basic understanding of a wide range of ideas.”

After Taverner and Hunter, Mortar Board members Ridge Hester and Tressa Linson shared about the Lyon community. Linson described Lyon as a “family,” and Hester emphasized students being involved in a more “intimate” setting. High school students then participated in a student panel, where the students could ask Mortar Board members questions about college and leadership.

During lunch, students listened to mathematics faculty discuss math’s role in life, Vice President for Enrollment Services Matt Crisman talk about the college application process, and psychology faculty share about stress and time management.

After lunch, students participated in a faculty panel and then went outside to the campus ropes course with the Lyon Education Adventure Program. The conference concluded with closing remarks from Student Government Association President Taylor Donnerson and Dean of Students Patrick Mulick.

“Leadership has to be a style that fits for you,” said Mulick. “Don’t be afraid of challenges. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in situations where you may not succeed... If you avoid the challenge of something possibly beneficial to you, there are negative consequences.”