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19 Students to Participate In Foróige Leadership Conference

Last August, seven Maria Regina High School students experienced a unique learning opportunity when they attended the Foróige Leadership for Life Conference in Ireland. The impact of the week-long session on the students was immediate. They quickly created a Foróige Club and adopted the concepts of leadership for real-world applications including initiatives to support their local communities.

In fact, soon after the Foróige Club was established, the students raised money to help support the mission of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a non-profit organization which since 9/11 has been providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families. The foundation builds specially-adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders. In collaboration with Stepinac High School, the club is also promoting the documentary, “How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story”. This documentary is to be screened at Stepinac on March 22, 2023.

 Participation in last year’s conference, a first-ever for Maria Regina, also laid the foundation for increased student interest in Foróige. That is measured by the fact that 19 Maria Regina students –including last year’s contingent--will participate in the 2023 Foróige Leadership Conference which will get underway at Maynooth University on August 1. They will join like-minded young people from around the globe to hear from inspirational leaders from a wide range of fields. Speakers from the areas of business, sports, philanthropy and media will share their own personal leadership journeys. Participants will also get to take part in many of the fun extracurricular activities and events.

The Maria Regina attendees will include (from last year): Siena O’BrienTegan HanniffyNeive ConnaughtonJolene HarveyCaitlin Carey and Shannon Burke, all of Yonkers and Lauren Spillane of Tuckahoe.

 This year’s newest contingent also comprises: Veronica Paolucci of Montrose; Sophia Rojas of the Bronx and Angelica Almanza, Colleen CareyAngelina ClaudioKeelyn ConnaughtonGiannna GuastaferroKyla PowerGabriella RubyIsabella SchneebergMarguerita Sharkey and Nora Sharkey, all of Yonkers.

Silvia Santo, Assistant Principal and Socorro Santos-Winters, Information and Resources Coordinator, who are co-moderators of the school’s Foróige initiative, noted the effectiveness of the program’s Module 1 as an introduction to the concepts of leadership and the skills necessary to be an effective leader. Santos-Winters has seen that the program is “fostering leadership qualities, communication skills, self-awareness, community leadership, goal setting and problem-solving.” 

For student Tegan Hanniffy (Class of ‘24), Vice President of Maria Regina’s Foróige Club, the experiences and the training “we learned at Maynooth last year have been very rewarding.” She cited the school’s Foróige Club has joined with the Aisling Center Foróige Club of Aisling Irish Community Cultural Center in Yonkers to help new members of the program through Module 1 of training. “We are helping our peers, not only to complete Module 1, but are also helping them to gain leadership skills such as confidence in themselves,” adding: “This is a great opportunity for us to put Module 1 into practice for ourselves.”

Maria Regina’s Foróige Club members plan to continue making a positive difference in their community through practical actions and projects. As Anna Parra, Maria Regina’s President, noted: “Foróige’s mission of developing young women as leaders mirrors the mission of our Catholic high school,” adding: “We are empowering our students with the skills they need to become tomorrow’s effective leaders for the betterment of society.”

The students attending this year’s conference and their parents will meet with Maria Regina officials on July 13 to discuss the details of this much-anticipated, prestigious international forum to inspire and help shape tomorrow’s leaders.

Posted on March 17, 2023