MCC students learn from Economics for Leaders program

MANISTEE — School officials at Manistee Catholic Central want to make sure when students graduate they are  ready to take the next step in life.

Manistee Catholic Central seniors Elizabeth Slivka and Molly McLinden recently took part in the Economics for Leaders Conference. For the past 10 years Manistee Catholic Central students have been attending the conference that is held at 15 major universities around the country.

Manistee Catholic Central seniors Elizabeth Slivka and Molly McLinden recently took part in the Economics for Leaders Conference. For the past 10 years Manistee Catholic Central students have been attending the conference that is held at 15 major universities around the country.

That not only means from an educational standpoint, but also from one of helping the students become well rounded individuals who have the skills to be the leaders of tomorrow.

A way they achieve that goal for some students at MCC is through the Economics for Leaders program that is sponsored by the Foundation for the Teaching of Economics.

This year, seniors Molly McLinden and Elizabeth Slivka took part in the program with students from all over the country. The goal of the program is to give promising students the skills to be more effective leaders and to teach them how to employ economic analysis when considering difficult public policy choices.

“It is sponsored by the Foundation of Teaching Economics and we have been doing it for about 10 years and during that time we have had about 35 to 40 of our students attend,” said Manistee Catholic Central dean of students Ed Kolanowski.

Conferences are held at 15 different major college campuses around the country. Part of the growth process is students are encouraged not to attend the same conference as their classmates. By going to different locations, it puts them in a situation being out on their own for the first time.

For McLinden, it was the opportunity to go somewhere she has always wanted to visit.

“I went to Seattle, Wash. to the University of Washington with 32 other students from all over the country,” said McLinden. “I really like Seattle and always wanted to go there, so it was the perfect opportunity for me.”

While McLinden headed west, Slivka went east for her conference.

“I went to Brown University in Providence, R.I.,” said Slivka. “I had never been to Rhode Island, so I thought that would be a cool experience to go there for the first time to learn about things in that area.”

Both girls said their days were filled with plenty of activity.

“In the morning we had sessions where we learned about economics and then we would take a lunch break and do leadership activities in the afternoon,” said McLinden. “We would do team building activities outside to learn about ourselves.”

Slivka said they did similar activities in Rhode Island.

“It was a lot of the same activities, but our leadership activities were to help you decide what type of leader you are and how to get along better with everyone,” she said. “We had 40 students at mine.”

What both girls found interesting was even though they were on opposite ends of the country, they each had a program coordinator who was from Michigan. Other than that, they were matched up with students from all over the country and none from this area. Both students found that to be a great learning experience.

“It made me realize that when it comes to college I will be OK,” said McLinden. “I made friends with people from all around the country. I learned a lot about myself. It taught me to be the kind of leader where I don’t always have to be in charge, but I can lead by example and step back to help if they need it.”

Slivka said what she found interesting is talking with students from various parts of the United States and how they differ. She also thought the program helped her learn a great deal about herself.

“It was neat to see because even though we are all from the United States we all have our own little way of doing things,” she said. “I learned a lot about basic economic principles. When it came to leadership, it was a lot about learning what kind of leader you are. I learned that I am supportive and being the one who helps the leader, or everyone else in a way that you actually are a leader.”

Kolanowski said thanks to the support of the community, MCC has been able to continue the program for the past decade at no cost to the students.

“There is a selection committee and the students have to complete the application to be accepted to the program,” Kolanowski said. “They want the students to have the experience of being on their own, so it really is like a stepping stone to college that they can go alone and do it well.”

Slivka said there is an opportunity to follow-up with the program and she has an interest in pursuing it.

“They offer something if you want to be a program coordinator you can come back the summer after your freshman year of college,” she said. “I am personally considering it, as I think it would be a great experience.”

McLinden said before the upcoming class attempts to apply her and Slivka will talk with them about their experiences and what they learned from it. They also plan to discuss what to look for and why it is important.

“What is good about this is Molly and Ellie have always been leaders, but maybe a little different perspective this year as you always kind of rely on the seniors to carry the ball their senior year,” said Kolanowski. “So it is good for us to have them at this kind of training experience.”

Manistee Catholic Central seniors Elizabeth Slivka and Molly McLinden recently took part in the Economics for Leaders Conference. For the past 10 years Manistee Catholic Central students have been attending the conference that is held at 15 major universities around the country.

Manistee Catholic Central seniors Elizabeth Slivka and Molly McLinden recently took part in the Economics for Leaders Conference. For the past 10 years Manistee Catholic Central students have been attending the conference that is held at 15 major universities around the country.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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