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STLCC Students Participate in Leadership Forum

Four students from St. Louis Community College were chosen to attend the 38th Annual Missouri Governor’s Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values held last month in Jefferson City, Mo.

Shengnan Gao, Samericka Harris, Robert Baker and Gail NuestroSTLCC’s representatives were Shengnan Gao and Samericka Harris, who attend classes at STLCC-Forest Park; Robert Baker, STLCC-Florissant Valley; and Gail Nuestro, STLCC-Meramec, who also is a student at Parkway North High School.

The forum challenges students’ character development by encouraging them to reflect on their own decision-making skills, values and belief systems. Students learn how to reconcile relationships, stand for truth, and love others as they love themselves. The forum’s guiding principle is teaching students to embrace altruism rather than egotism.

Two of STLCC’s participants shared their perspectives about the forum:

  • “Attending the Missouri Governor's Student Leadership Forum encouraged me to grow as a leader not only through my roles and accomplishments, but also by reflecting on and retelling my story to others. Throughout the entire weekend, I realized the value that comes with being broken and vulnerable enough to shed light on my struggles. By embracing the fact that true beauty comes from becoming beyond what breaks me, I've grown more resilient and empathetic to those around me, even in the seemingly little ways.” – Gail Nuestro
  • “It was an honor to have been selected to attend the 2023 Governor's Student Leadership Forum. The forum allowed me to share my life experiences with other college students from across the state and to discuss the importance of faith and values. The speakers shared stories of overcoming obstacles and how they persevered even in the most difficult times. As an older, first-time college student starting a new career path by completing my degree at STLCC, and having overcome my own obstacles, their stories gave me strength and hope to succeed. I also enjoyed meeting Governor Parson and appreciated the opportunity to ask him about the mental health crisis in Missouri and to learn that is a priority for his administration.” – Robert Baker

The forum kicked off with a message from Rebecca Welsh, founder of Halo, a mission that provides housing, healing and education to at-risk and homeless children. Students ended the day at the Capitol. They toured and heard from Bob Priddy, retired news director of Missourinet; visited the office of Gov. Mike Parson; and finally visited the House floor, led by Mo. Sen. Travis Fitzwater. They also heard from Rod Jetton, former Speaker of the House.

Other speakers delivered remarks about leading by example. They included Morgan Steward, business manager and former athlete at the University of Missouri-Columbia; Wongani Mtika, consultant and mentor; Bryan Cizek, E3 Ranch Foundation; and Justin Campbell, regional director of Young Life.

The Missouri Governor’s Student Leadership Forum started in 1986 under the leadership of John Ashcroft, former Missouri governor and 79th U.S. Attorney General. 

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