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6th Grader Ryan Petcove Attends Envision: National Youth Leadership Forum

Posted on: November 4, 2019

In Spring 2019, Ryan Petcove, a 6th Grade student at Palm Beach Day Academy, was nominated by his teachers and the PBDA administration to attend Envision: National Youth Leadership Forum. Each year, PBDA nominates students who possess innate leadership skills at a very young age. Our goal is to offer ample opportunities for these students to sharpen these skills, among many others. 

This past summer over the course of six days at Babson College, one of Envision’s eleven university program locations, Ryan had the opportunity to explore various career opportunities, gain increased confidence and leadership skills, and more, alongside like-minded middle school students from all over the United States.

Founded in 1985, Envision’s immersive career exploration and leadership development programs have inspired more than 800,000 students. Envision programs – held at university campuses including Wake Forest, Villanova, and Emory, among others – are taught by subject matter experts and built on modern, 21st-century learning principles. From performing surgery using virtual reality and conducting a mock trial in an actual courtroom, to learning how to create a grassroots organization to affect positive change, Envision programs provide practical, hands-on learning experiences for middle and high school students.

Sarah Kemeness, Head of Upper Campus, sat with Ryan this fall to discuss his experiences and takeaways from his Envision experience.

What were some highlights from your Envision experience?

It was really cool to be on a college campus. For me, it was like the big leagues for STEAM and to be on a college campus was amazing. I felt like I was getting a taste of what it would be like to go to college and live there. I loved learning everything the program had to offer. It happened to be Babson College’s Centennial this year, so I started thinking of PBDA’s 100th year celebration. My advisor, Ms. White, was really nice. It reminded me of our advisory program here which is an amazing program to have when you are a scholar.

PBDA 6th Grader attends Envision Leadership ForumEnvision attracts students from all over the country. Tell us about some of the students you met.

It was eye-opening to be with kids from so many different parts of the country. Students were as young as 8 and the oldest were 15. I met kids from DC, Texas, and Arkansas. No one knew each other which made it fun.

Were there any specific activities you participated in that really challenged you?

We had to dissect a beef heart to find out where everything was located within the heart. It was really amazing to be able to learn the anatomy of a heart and how similar the beef heart is to a human heart. It actually reminded me of PBDA’s Junior Marine Bio Enrichment class. Other highlights included programming an M Bot and participating in a CSI investigation.

What was one thing you learned that may help you as a Sixth grader at PBDA?

Once a day for 45 minutes, we sat down to do SMART Planning, a process that is all about being a better leader. The SMART Action Planning method walks you through how to correctly make a plan to achieve a goal. The steps to this method are:

  1. Sspecify a task to be completed
  2. Mmeasure the task and how it will be evaluated
  3. A – is the task achievable, and how do we achieve it?
  4. R – is the task relevant in working towards the e-learning plan, and most importantly 
  5. T –  time – be sure to work within a timeframe. 

When you can get into a tricky situation and when things go wrong, you can either give up or you can stop and think. I like that expression – smart planning.

I also learned that most great leaders have Lead with Honor values. The best leaders are understanding, intelligent, know who they are as a person, and are open to new ideas that are brought to the table.

What was it about Envision that attracted you? Why did you feel this was something you wanted to do? How did you hope to grow from it?

When I went to the website for the program, the site felt so welcoming – just like PBDA’s website. I became intrigued in what they have to offer and found a lot of young students like me that like to learn – it was a nice welcoming. There was a sense of a ‘home,’ just like at 241 Seaview Avenue.   

For more information about PBDA, please visit www.pbday.org