High School Leaders Program, Class of 2016
Day 14: Friday, July 22
Reported by: Lily Hungarland, George Washington High School
Today was the day: the final presentations of our culminating projects. We had researched, written, rehearsed, and then rehearsed even more (late into the night for some). If nerves were high, it didn’t show at all. I know I speak for everyone when I say there was an amazing set of ideas presented this day. The insightful look into Virginia politics that the groups demonstrated made me feel proud to be sitting among these students and call them my peers. Projects were on veteran employment, car dealership franchise laws, redistricting reform, sexual assault awareness, and double-blind lineup techniques. We were judged by a panel of four professionals: our professor, Marc Johnson; Sorensen Director of Programs, Lauren Gilbert; the Fairfax County General Registrar, Cameron Sasnett; and the Vice President of Kemper Consulting, Marianne Radcliff.
Once completed, we celebrated with kabobs and hummus from Sticks Kabob Shop and had the opportunity to listen to Lauren Gilbert and Rachel Casebolt speak about becoming Sorensen alumni and our time in the High School Leaders Program (HSLP).
After lunch, we had our final session with Mr. Johnson and then headed back to the dorm to mournfully start packing our bags. For a last hoorah, the Sorensen staff took all of us to Café Caturra where we enjoyed the company of our new closest friends. Continuing the celebrations, the staff put on an ice cream social where the class superlatives were revealed. The superlatives were spot on and we all had a few laughs when we covered “Most likely to burn down Bice” and “Most likely to stage a coup."
One thing that Lauren said while talking about the program that felt extremely true was about the friendships and connections we have made. The two weeks of the HSLP are simultaneously the shortest and longest two weeks of the year. On one hand, I have met some of the best people. I feel like I have known them for years. On the other hand, it seems like just yesterday I was unpacking my things and trying to learn everyone’s names. In this way, the HSLP is a unique and invaluable experience that will carry with us for years to come. Thank you to all the staff, all the speakers, and all the students for this experience.