CMS students head to D.C. |

CMS students head to D.C.

Post Independent/Bobby Magill Dalton Handy, left and Landon Garvik

CARBONDALE – Leadership isn’t just something kids learn about in Boy Scouts. Some naturally set an example for their peers and get noticed in the process. That’s why Carbondale Middle School seventh-graders Landon Garvik and Dalton Handy are being sent next week to the Congressionally-sponsored Junior National Young Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., where they will learn the nuances of effective leadership, tour historic landmarks and maybe even meet members of Congress. They will learn how to hone their leadership skills and measure those skills against current and former national leaders. Teachers nominate students each year to go to the conference based on their potential leadership ability, good relationships with other students, academic acumen and their ability to think independently, said Principal Cliff Colia.

“It’s something to put on the résumé,” Handy said. “Some people who come back from this thing come back changed people.”Indeed, once Handy and Garvik return from Washington, they’ll be taking on a leadership role at Carbondale Middle School, spreading a message of good citizenship to their peers. “They (students who attend the conference) come back, and they help students here understand the larger picture of our country,” Colia said. “A lot of our kids just don’t understand that there is life outside Carbondale, life past the next school dance. Because they’re well-spoken and because they’re school leaders, they come back and communicate that message and kids will listen.” What makes Garvik and Handy leaders? “It comes down to respect,” Handy said, adding that he thinks leadership comes from three areas: respect for yourself, respect for others around you and respect from others. He said he tries to be a leader by “trying my hardest, following through on stuff I say, and knowing I can do things.”

Both Garvik and Handy raised money to pay for the $2,000 trip, which took plenty of leadership skills, Garvik said. She said it’s difficult to ask for help sometimes, but reaching out proved to be a growth experience.”I wrote letters to businesses I support (and) had to make a follow-up call,” she said. “That was pretty scary, but I learned a lot.”Each raised more than $500 from area businesses. Garvik said she and Handy are lucky to be able to meet elected officials many other people she knows will never encounter.

When asked which members of Congress they might meet, Handy said, “Hopefully, Democrats.”Garvik and Handy said they’re excited to represent Carbondale at a national leadership conference. “It’s a big deal to think we were the kids who were chosen to represent our community,” Garvik said. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext.

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