by sophomore Sophie Selenke
“It’s a great honor to be selected by teachers to help make Hudson better by being a leader,” said Sara Hansen, who was one of four freshmen to attend.
The academy started one year after Aplington- Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas was fatally shot by one of his former players in 2009. Thomas’s 37-year career began in 1975 when he moved to Parkersburg. There he was the football coach, boys track coach, athletic director, and teacher for history and government. Thomas quickly made an impact on not just the football team but also the players’ lives. Though he was successful in coaching, being inducted into the Iowa Football Coaches’ Hall of Fame and named NFL High School Coach of the Year, Thomas especially took pride in encouraging his players to lead by example.
The academy featured four motivational speakers: motivational speaker Rohan Murphy, real estate mogul Amy Wienands, Hy-Vee community relations assistant vice president Brad Waller, and Aaron Thomas, Ed Thomas’s son.
At the end of the conference, each school chose a student that demonstrated the qualities for a leader. The Hudson representative was senior Emma Yoder.
“I think Emma Yoder is a good leader at Hudson,” said sophomore Jake Hoppes. “She always volunteers a lot of her time for the school.”
Ultimately, the goal of the conference is to teach young people the importance of making good decisions and being a leader on the field, in the classroom, and in their communities.
Said National Honor Society advisor and conference chaperone Dawn Frye, “My hope is that the students that got to go to the conference will all group up and do some sort of reflection, so maybe we can adopt a leadership project by the end of the year.”