By: email@example.com Welland Tribune
Austin Stastny walked into a packed gymnasium at Port Colborne High School on Wednesday and locked eyes with his peers around the room.
“It was the look on their faces that made it all worth while,” he said, after organizing a youth leadership event for his fellow Blue Bears.
The Grade 11 student attended the Central Ontario Leadership Seminar in May 2013 and upon his return to Port High approached principal Nigel Evans with a proposal to host a similar event at the school.
Stastny spent the last year planning and organizing the initiative, which brought in top-notch motivational speakers Blake Fly and Sunjay Nath.
“This is all on Austin,” said Nath, who is one of the most sought-after speakers in education. “He did the fundraising for this event and organized it beyond ridiculousness,” said Nath
In a fun and interactive way, Nath teaches students to deal with some of their fundamental concerns like handling peer pressure and building self confidence.
He has a unique blend of humour, experience and passion and arms his presentations with stories, games, songs and magic tricks.
“I'm a believer that input effects output and that we're all a master of our own destinies,” said Nath, who has spoken at more than 1,200 schools.
He is no stranger to Port High. Nath was last at the school in December 1999 to deliver a motivational message.
“I was involved in a leadership role in high school as a member of student council, voted high school valedictorian and worked in the residence life in university,” said Fly. “I loved it so I took it on the road. I saw guys like Sanjay doing this for a living and decided to turn my passion into my career.”
“It was my intention that students could sit back and see that they can make a difference in the world – both locally and globally,” Stastny said. “If you use your mind and use a critical process, you can make it happen.”
Nath said seeing the way Stastny's fellow students respect him was amazing to see.
“His leadership abilities are incredible. When he speaks his peers listen to him,” said Nath.
Fly said he was blown away when he walked into Port High for the leadership event.
“It was so well organized. Everything has gone smoothly. There were signs posted to let people know where to go. Statsny's the man – this has been a great event,” said Fly.