Saint James Sophomore Haley Brightwell was nominated by the Saint James high school faculty and selected by the University of Alabama Capstone Council to attend a two-day leadership conference in Tuscaloosa, March 5th and 6th, the Capstone Leadership Academy (CLA).
During the conference, students participated in leadership-building roundtables and worked on collaborative projects and presentations with other CLA attendees. They were also provided campus tours and introductions to administrators and student leaders from the University of Alabama Honors College. Haley commented, “I really enjoyed the campus tour – I tried to truly take-in the moment as we moved from building to building. It was my first ‘official college tour,’ so it was a pretty special moment!” Haley continued, “I was very interested to learn about life in college, but what really caught my attention were the opportunities that are available to students – not just the number of things you can be involved in, but the variety of things. Whatever your interests are, there is a place for you!”
With sophomores from across the state of Alabama at the conference, participants met other students from cities they have never visited and parts of the state unknown to them. Haley reflected, “The Capstone Leadership Academy was such a fun and memorable experience. When I first arrived, I was a little nervous because I really did not know anyone. Very quickly, I began to meet new people and I made some great friends throughout the two days. My group won the ‘Best Chant’ competition. I thought that was a great way for our group to end our first day of the conference.”
“On the second day of CLA, I listened to so many great speakers and learned so much,” Haley explained. “The speakers taught us about our personal Vision, Values, and Voice: our ‘vision’ means setting goals for ourselves,” she continued. “They taught us to always strive to accomplish those goals but to always include our ‘values’ and morals in those goals. The speakers also focused on how important our voice is. They taught us how impactful our voice can be in shaping opinions and becoming a leader of people who share our vision and values.”
When asked what she thought the conference served to accomplish, Haley replied, “First, I want to say that I was so honored to be chosen to attend the Capstone Leadership Academy by my school and the University of Alabama. This was such a great opportunity! I learned so much about what truly makes an effective leader and what makes a strong leader. I look forward to using these skills and making a difference in my community.”
Each year, the Saint James high school faculty nominates select sophomores to submit entries to the Capstone Council / Capstone Leadership Academy. A University of Alabama alumni group composed of former Capstone Men and Women; the Office of the President; and the Honors College host the conference each spring on the UA campus. The Capstone Council also awards through the UA Alumni Association a leadership scholarship each year to one incoming freshman who attended CLA as a sophomore. This scholarship, the Jean Townsend O’Connor-Snyder and Leslie Anderson Vallely Capstone Council scholarship is worth $6,000 and is awarded once, for the student’s freshman year.