2022 OK conference leadership summit is deemed a success


If you are a student at Forest Hills Central High School, you might have noticed many student-athletes were absent from the hallways and classrooms on November 3rd. This date marked the annual OK Conference Leadership Summit. This year, there were over 1,000 students in attendance from the conference. If you found yourself attending the conference, that meant that a specific coach believes you are either a great leader already or that you can be in the future.

There were multiple sessions offered to the student-athletes; however, according to some student-athletes, some stood out more than others.

“It was really interesting when they had us move and sit by someone from another school and get to know that person,” varsity tennis player Nico Notarnicola said. A solid thirty minutes was spent receiving different viewpoints from kids about topics such as teamwork and sportsmanship. It was interesting to hear the different points of view and the different things taught at different schools.”

Another important element to the summit was the main speaker: Brett Ledbetter. Brett gave a talk about what drives winning. He had each individual person write down the weaknesses of not only his or her team but also the weaknesses for himself or herself that were not very well-known. He had some people share what they said, and it was interesting how he focused on each individual’s differences in opinion. For example, one student-athlete said that her team argued quite a lot, and when asked why there was such turmoil, she responded, “I think it’s human nature.  Everyone tries to defend themselves by attacking others.” Brett then explained how that was not the correct mentality to accept, and that to be a leader, individuals need to push through that state of mind.

Captain of the girls soccer team, Dailey Tucker, commented on what she thought the best part of the summit was for her. “I really liked when all the different coaches stood up at the end and got five minutes to talk because not only did they talk about what it took to be a good leader but also life lessons that will help outside of athletics.” According to the many student-athletes that I spoke with, this final session was their favorite.

Girls tennis captain, Brooke Kushak, also spoke on her favorite part. “I really enjoyed when kids from other schools would respond to the whole group’s questions. It makes you realize that your team isn’t the only team and there are people on the other side of the net and they matter too.” This was a big point throughout as the speakers talked about the importance of respect and sportsmanship multiple times.

When asked why he thought athletes needed to learn about leadership, varsity golf coach, Paul TenEycK, responded by saying, “Athletics are instrumental in the development of a young person. Athletes learn many things and leadership is one of the most important. To be a leader is essential to the success of our society.” Obviously, leadership is a highly regarded trait among coaches. Overall, learning more about it definitely helped all who were in attendance.

This summit was quite the experience. Obviously, FHC Athletic Director Jonathan Goei believed the summit would be worth it, especially since they missed a full day of school for it. Much gratitude goes out to not only the high school coaches who took the time to nominate the student-athletes but also to the collegiate-level coaches who took the time to speak as well. And from countless remarks, this time spent was well worth it for the future of FHC athletics.