VALPARAISO | Cassie Govert is a junior at Merrillville High School. She devotes herself to the diversity and community service club Socially Together and Naturally Diverse (STAND). She is the STAND Director of Communications. Cassie is also the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Mirror Newspaper. She excels in english, U.S. history, and music. When she isn’t performing with the Choralteens, Merrillville’s advanced choir, Cassie likes blogging and interacting. Her passion for helping others and writing creates her dream to major in journalism and social sciences and move to Washington D.C.
"You do not have to be first to win. You do not have to be the star athlete to be able to live a successful and happy life. You do not have to have a significant other all of the time to be loved. You should never live carefully. Fear is one of the biggest roadblocks in leadership. If there is fear of failure in a project or fear in switching jobs because of whom it may upset, things will never work. Sometimes it is best to follow your heart and recognize how special you are, whether you are the president of your class or 16 and pregnant. Everyone has their own niche and their own space that they can grow in and lead and change, sometimes it’s just fear that blocks us from finding it. This month’s keynote speaker at the South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement (SLYCE) Program’s session, Rob Hanrahan’s, Executive Director, Methodist Hospitals Foundation, fearlessness inspired me during the session as he conveyed this message, one of the most valuable lessons you can learn.
Being involved with SLYCE while remaining on student councils and other leadership teams really allows you to fully appreciate what the program does for you. This past session we were taught how to efficiently brainstorm and vote on ideas to put new projects in place or any other decisions that involve creative thinking. Being the Director of Leadership for Merrillville’s STAND group and Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, these skills will allow me to help the club use time effectively rather than wasting time trying to pull ideas from a dead room. The growth in leadership from the first session in January until now is apparent in every participant.
The morale of the SLYCE crew has also grown significantly even within the last session. All of us got the opportunity to touch each other’s sweat while tackling the Porter Starke outdoor challenge (I’m looking at you Brent Breese) for an extended period of time, and if that isn’t bonding, I’m not sure what is. Communication was key during most of the activities we experienced while participating in a few team building exercises. Members were challenged to learn each other’s names and communicate without even talking. I felt so much more connected to every member after we had to work together so diligently to complete tasks together.
Although I already had a foundation of leadership started, the SLYCE program has truly begun to aid in building something incredible with it. This past session reminded me why I got involved with the program and really allowed me to connect with the other members. I’ve been looking forward to what the future of SLYCE will bring for me and what other kinds of great opportunities I may receive. SLYCE has taught me to never settle for having good leadership skills until my foundation turns into the sturdiest, most eloquent skyscraper ever built."