Eden Sauley represented Wylie at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) Seminar this summer at the University of North Texas, where she joined other sophomores from across the state to learn about leadership and community service.
“It was one of the best things I’ve ever participated in,” Eden said.
Wylie is allowed to send one student each summer to the seminar. Participants are chosen based on leadership, decision-making, community service and an essay about what makes a good leader.
Eden said she applied for the honor because she wanted to learn more about serving her community.
“I wanted a chance to learn how to step up and help other people,” she said.
HOBY is a nationwide program designed to motivate and empower students to make a difference in society through compassionate leadership. The seminar included guest speakers and small-group activities plus a community service project.
“The seminar really focused on community service,” Eden said. “And they really focused on using your skills and leadership to help others.”
Eden’s group did a service project at Shiloh Field Community Garden in Denton, where students harvested vegetables and did other jobs to help the garden thrive.
But Eden said what she enjoyed most was getting to know the people in her small group. She said she walked into a seminar of complete strangers wondering what she had gotten herself into, but by the end of the 2 ½ day event, many of those strangers had become good friends.
“I walked away with a bunch of new friends,” she said. “We helped each other so much. That was my favorite part.”
When the event ended, each of the students took a vow to do 100 hours of community service. Eden hopes to do her volunteer service at one of the hospitals.
Eden said she can use what she learned as a volunteer or in her school activities, which include DI, band, theater and the swim team. She said the seminar was an amazing experience that will help her not only in school, but in life after school.
“I think it can help me be a leader anywhere whether it’s in the community or throughout the world,” she said. “Whether you want to start your own nonprofit or just volunteer, there’s a way to be a leader and make a difference in your community.”