Dennis Kenneally was one of 350 middle school students chosen from across the country to attend the National Young Leaders State Conference in Indianapolis last month.
An eighth-grader at Colonel John Wheeler Middle School in Crown Point, Kenneally was nominated by the National Research Center for College and University Admissions after participating in college testing.
The intensive four-day program, sponsored by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, challenged students in areas of leadership and communication.
“The program was really intense - we worked from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. I learned leadership skills including group dynamics, effective communication and decision making, and I learned how to resolve conflicts among my peers,” Kenneally said.
“Most important to me was that I learned how to give motivational speeches. I think it will help me to be an effective leader.”
“It is important for me to succeed, because it really bothers me to lose and I want to make a difference in this world,” he added.
Kenneally, the son of Scott and Carolin Kenneally, of Crown Point, maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and has been involved in National Junior Honor Society for three years.
He is an accomplished athlete, having played baseball, basketball and football since age 5.
“My favorite awards are those that I received for being part of a team. My seventh-grade track relay team took first in the Lake-Porter Conference,” Kenneally said. “Also, one of my baseball teams (Boone Grove Wolves) was first in Northern Indiana BPA and we went to the World Series and won several tournaments.”
“My dream is to be a professional football player. I will strive to make that happen, but if it does not happen for me, I would like to graduate from Ohio State and become an engineer,” he said.
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