ASB wins big at CASL
CASL students and Outstanding Activities Award. Photo by Michael Nakada.
Piercing voices of students. Numerous smiles on peoples faces . Inspirations floating in their minds. All of it happens at CASL: California Association of Student Leaders Museum.
Day 1: The sun was beating down on a warm spring day in Costa Mesa as three darkly-shaded vehicles rolled into the Hilton’s driveway. Sixteen teenagers walked into the hotel lobby, ready for a life-changing adventure.
They were met with hundreds of teenagers all scrambling around with their luggage. Everyone naturally segregated themselves by school or by small groups of friends; this would soon change as the conference unfolded. A quick glance down to the lower levels showed more than a thousand students from all parts of California and Canada, all waiting for the same thing: the conference to begin.
The 16 teenagers checked in, each one received a bag, water bottle, pen, notebook and name badge. They followed a trail of students down to the lower levels of the hotel. Then, the doors to the Pacific Ballroom opened and the first keynote speaker, Albert Mensah, began.
He spoke about his childhood in Africa and how hard he worked to make it to America and create a better life for himself and his children. He spoke about his children and their drive to succeed in life. And finally, he spoke about his brother and how he built himself an unsafe home when he thought it was not for himself, thus creating a great start to their three day trip.
From Mensah’s inspirational speech, Joe La Russa, the A/V Commissioner, said, “(I learned to) work hard now and play hard later.”
After the speaker, they all moved to a regional meeting where several school from around the same area gathered to discuss the legacy of several influential people such as the humanitarianism of Mother Teresa or the vision of Walt E. Disney. They eventually dispersed all over the hotel into intrastate meetings and workshops consisting of students from all parts of California and Canada where they learned about service learning and being better leaders. Then they packed back into the Pacific Ballroom, which was decorated as a museum, for a dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies. Then they had another intrastate and then another region meeting.
POP! BANG! POP! The dance party started as the confetti cannons bursted. The students screamed at the top of their lungs and danced wildly for two hours. By the end, each person was exhausted, almost deaf, and nearly voiceless, thus signaling the end of day one.
Day 2:The 16 teenagers woke with a call from their adviser, Mr. Jason Feuerbach.They were to start their day with breakfast then meet the pros, a sharing of ideas between schools, and four more added to their group. As they walked down to the Pacific Ballroom, hundreds of students bustled around them, all moving towards the same destination. When the doors opened, chaos erupted. Students flocked to find the table with an interesting topic, sit down for about ten minutes, then moved among the flurry of students to find a new table. This was one of the favorite activities by many of the students.
Shelia Perkins, the commissioner of spirit, said, “Meet the pros (was my favorite) this year because I was a presenter .I got to meet a lot of people.”
After meet the pros came another workshop, then another region meeting and then the keynote speaker: Kathy Buckley, the first deaf comedian.
The crowd was bawling in laughter from Buckley’s inspiring yet comedic stories. She talked about the way people would judge her as a child, the hardships of her life, and how she became a comedian. All of this to teach not to label anyone and that there are no limits.
The crowd left with the thought of all Kathy had to say, all she had to teach.
Aly Herkins, the Vice president, said, “Kathy Buckly (is my favorite) because she is funny yet relatable.”
The 20 teenagers went to lunch and then to their region meetings. They learned about the power of one’s actions, leadership through one’s service, and overcoming one’s prejudice.
Finally, the students loaded onto busses to go to the last part of their day, Speed Zone, a park full of race tracks, miniature golf, and dancing. As they got off the buses, they walked into Speed Zone. They ate hamburgers for dinner then dispersed. Some went to racing, some went to golf, while some went to the arcade. There was even a drag racing competition for the advisors of each school. Suddenly, the lights went out and lasers flared, starting another dance party.
Mr. Jason Feuerbach said, ”Mr. Yamamoto winning the drag racing (is my favorite part).”
Eventually they had to load into the busses and depart back to the hotel., the end of day two.
Day 3: The last day of the conference. The 20 students started out with another interstate, a workshop, and region meeting, same as any other day, but completely different when the thought of leaving entered their minds. Then all the conference students packed back into the Pacific Ballroom for the closing session. There, the last keynote speaker, Justin Boudreau, took the stage. He told the crowd his life story from living in Canada to becoming a speaker. He ended by challenging the audience to be themselves and to be unique.
The last part of the conference was the Outstanding Activities Program Awards, the most awaited part of the conference. To win this award, each school had to fill out a lengthy application. This eliminated the number of school down to thirty schools. As each school walked across the stage their schools erupted. However, when Colleen walked across, the twenty student’s sheer volume outshined all of the other schools.
The 20 students then loaded back into the darkly shaded vehicles, packed to the brim with their luggage, ready for their long journey home.
When they returned, Mr. Jason Feuerbach, said, “(I am) proud of winning the activities award and having several students present at meet the pros.”
By MICHAEL NAKADA