Alexa Mattessich’s Thank You for S4TL

Chiavacci_mattessich2Today, Alexa Mattessich, photographed between Bob Chiavacci and President Joyce Baskin, gave our club her thank you for our supporting her attendance at the Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders (S4TL) at Florida Southern College. Alexa, a rising senior at Clearwater Central Catholic High School, gave her “thank you” by letting Bob hold her guitar and giving us a mental tour of her week at S4TL.

“At the start of S4TL, I felt like the week was going by so slow, but by the end, I was wishing it had been another week longer. S4TL greatly impacted me in such a positive way. I’m a bit of a shy person compared to many of the other students there, but I still felt very much accepted. In fact, by the end of the week, I had broken out of my shell, or as they called it at SFTL, taken off my mask. I learned to open up and be myself because I am special and unique and cannot let anyone tell me otherwise.”

“The day I arrived, I had no idea what to expect. As my mom pulled up to the college in our car, a swarm of guys wearing red shirts surrounded the car cheering. They got me out of the car as soon as they could and carried my luggage up for me. It was such a fun and exciting welcome to S4TL! After saying goodbye to my mom, I was walked to my dorm room, where there were these random blue items scattered all over my bed. Soon after, I realized that I was a member of the “blue crew”, and would have to carry around these items with me everywhere I went. They included beads, nail polish, glasses and even an inflatable guitar! Because there were over 150 students attending S4TL, there were a total of 18 different color groups, from peach to aqua to copper. And each group had its own color items as well. The members of each color group become very close over the course of one week because they do everything together. We ate every meal together, travelled from building to building together, always sat together as a group, and had to perform a skit relating to S4TL together every day. However, at the same time, we were never limited to interacting with only those students in our own color group. During the week, we participated in several activities with people outside of our own color groups, so we ended up getting to know a lot of people!”

Mattessich friends2“As you can see, I am wearing a yellow shirt (far left), which is one of the three I received on the first day I arrived. Students wore their yellow shirts every day, and we became known as the “yellow shirts”. In addition to the yellow shirts, there are red shirts, white shirts, and blue shirts. Red shirts were yellow shirts last year, and each one leads his own color group of yellow shirts. White shirts were yellow shirts two to three years ago, and they manage S$TL with jobs of security, producing the daily newspaper and end of the week “yearbook”, and more. Lastly, the blue shirts are all Rotarians themselves, and they are in charge of and oversee S4TL.”

“Throughout the week, there were guest speakers, group activities, and group discussions called “rap sessions”. There were one to three guest speakers each day who were motivational speakers with a story to tell and a message to give to us. They often had group activities planned to really engage all the students and get us to know one another better. “Rap sessions” are discussions among the members of two color groups joined together, along with guest Rotarians. During each session, we had discussions on controversial topics up until the last day. On this final day, my group really emotionally connected as we shared the saddest moment in our lives that has changed us. If you have not attended S4TL for a rap session before, I would highly recommend doing so next year. I can guarantee that you will not leave S4TL regretting it.”

“I learned so many valuable lessons at the Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders, from learning how to be a great leader to learning to just be myself, because I am the only me. I am unique, and nobody can take that away from me! I am going to end with a quote from one of my favorite speakers from S4TL, Bobby Petrocelli: “I matter, YOU matter, WE matter, and you are beautiful because you matter!”

“Thank you so much again!”

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