The Annual Student Leadership Conference was hosted in Orlando, FL on November 18-19, 2016 to celebrate the Florida TRIO family and create an opportunity for students and staff to network. This year’s conference brought in nearly 350 attendees, 25 programs, and 15 institutions from across the state of Florida representing the collegiate-level Student Support Services programs along with the pre-college Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound programs. The two-day event featured life skills and empowerment workshops for students coupled with hands-on training for staff. The featured keynote speaker, Keith L. Brown- “Mr. I’m Possible”, led an exhilarating opening session to lift students’ expectations of themselves to succeed and empower the staff working with them to see them all as scholars. He charged everyone to see that we are possible, our dreams are possible, and TRIO works!
The conference’s debate also proved to be a highlight of the event with five collegiate level teams competing in multiple rounds of debate. Topics for this year’s debate included the use of standardized tests in college admissions to imposing term limits on the Supreme Court Justices. The final winner was Miami Dade College. However, the debate is just one opportunity student attendees had to engage with each other. The Student Government Association within Florida TRiO also held their annual meeting and elections for new officers representing the pre-college programs throughout the state. This provides students leadership opportunities for their college applications and beyond.
Each year the Student Leadership Conference is a reinvigorating event for both students and staff alike to connect and re-charge for the upcoming year. The conference provides professional and personal development in an environment charged with fun and connection. Florida TRiO (formerly known as FAEOPP) serves as the organizing body for the conference and this year Ms. Jerinae Speed, Vice President of Florida TRiO (Palm Beach State College), did a fabulous job putting together a conference that both students and staff benefited from.