Maine State Leadership Alliance

This thing has gotten huge!… The Maine State Leadership Alliance began four years ago with about 140 Maine students and teachers who came to the Hyde-Bath campus for what we hoped might turn into an annual conference on leadership.  The workshop format offered students a smorgasbord of 30-minute sessions on a wide range of topics. Last week we were at it again. As this photo of the opening assembly shows, we’ve grown… ten fold!  (This year’s count: 1,460 in attendance)


The assembly kicked off with a welcome from Hyde-Bath seniors Khaliel Pass and Eliza Burroughs, with Khaliel taking the requisite selfie.


This was followed by some welcoming remarks from Head of School Laura Gauld ’76, founder of The Maine State Leadership Alliance.


Laura then introduced our keynote speaker, U. S. Senator Angus King (ME-Ind.), who presented the audience with an inspiring history lesson on the heroic contributions of Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg.  (Talk about an appropriate topic for a bunch of Maine kids seeking to learn about leadership!)


From there, the entire assemblage broke into workshops, with kids and adults shoehorned into every available space on campus.  These were led by a truly impressive group of Maine entrepreneurs, experts, and leaders. For example, we had three Maine Hall of Fame coaches (e.g., John Wolfgram, the winningest football coach in Maine high school history; Colby College coaching legend Dick Whitmore; and high school basketball’s Paul Vachon).  We also had presenters who covered such topics as aquaponics, toxic waste, renewable energy, and conference favorite “Surviving a Man Made Disaster.” Even Hyde founder Joe Gauld got into the act with an interactive presentation on public speaking.


After box lunches… for 1400 (Thanks, Hyde kitchen!)… we wrapped up with all assembled in the gym where a panel of students on stage offered extemporaneous comments…


… on some questions presented on the overhead screen.


Throughout the session, students and faculty gathered in small groups around specific character traits and qualities posted on the surrounding walls.


We were also graced by some familiar faces and friends.  Check out former faculty John Romac (1990-2016), a man of vision (!), who returned to campus to attend with students from St. Dom’s (Lewiston) where he now teaches.


We then said our good-byes and the students made their way out to a seemingly endless line of buses bound for locations all over Maine.  Suffice it to say that it was a good day. It was all about leadership. And it was all about…dsc_0880

And I do believe that more than a little fun snuck its way in there. At least, these kids sure thought so.


I think they’re saying, “We’re all about the Dirigo, y’all!!!”  (OK, maybe not that last “word.”  And if you don’t know the “D’ word, Google it.)  Indeed.

Onward, Malcolm Gauld