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National Federation of State
High School Associations


News Release

NFHS to Host Annual Student Leadership Summit in Indianapolis


 Contact: Elliot Hopkins

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 18, 2019) — Next week, 140 student ambassadors from 34 states and two Canadian provinces, along with 56 adult advisors, will come together for the fifth National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS) in Indianapolis. It marks the 12th national conference for high school students sponsored by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) since the inaugural conference in 2001.

The NSLS, which has been hosted annually by the NFHS since 2015, will be held July 22-24 in the downtown Hyatt Regency. This year’s summit features ambassadors from four new states and one new Canadian province — New Jersey, Kansas, Idaho, South Dakota and British Columbia.

“This is the only national student leadership summit for athletes and performing arts participants,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports, sanctioning and student services and coordinator of the National Student Leadership Summit. “The NFHS feels these young people have inherent leadership abilities and are future leaders. The NFHS plans to direct these high school students on how to develop their leadership abilities and interact with their peers from around the United States and Canada.”

The NSLS focuses on relevant and contemporary issues where students will hone their leadership skills and realize the privilege and power of their influence in their school, community and state.

By utilizing a “train the trainer” concept, student and adult ambassadors will develop skills that will enable them to effectively lead their peers at school and assist their state association. By targeting specific topics, each student ambassador will learn how to develop and maintain healthy relationships with teammates, coaches and adult leaders, and officials.

The two general session speakers are Adrienne Bulinski and Harvey Alston. Bulinski, who will speak during the Opening General Session July 22 from 5:15 to 6:00 p.m., is a former Miss Kansas, former Miss USO and a graduate of the University of Kansas. She is author of the best-selling Amazon book, “Blood Sweat & Tiaras.” Additionally, Bulinski is a strong opinion generator with fierce self-confidence.
“We are fortunate to have not only a former Miss Kansas, but also a former high school athlete and performing arts participant at the summit,” Hopkins said. “She brings a rich and diverse background to share with young people, along with an understanding of the importance of young people being involved in school activities.”

Alston will highlight the Closing General Session July 24 at 9:15 a.m. His personal message of “Be the Best” is the forefront of his enterprise, Best Inc., based on his philosophy and his book titled “Be the Best.” Considered one of the most dynamic, high-octane speakers in America, Alston has been a full-time speaker since 1989. He has received numerous awards including the NFHS Outstanding Service Award and the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s (OHSAA) Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award. He also coordinates the OHSAA’s Student Leadership Conference — the largest student leadership conference in the country — and serves on various advisory boards for the NFHS.

“Harvey Alston is an icon and has been an exemplary member of the Federation family,” Hopkins said. “He is quite prolific and is one of the best motivational speakers I have personally heard in several decades. As demonstrated in his work with the OHSAA, he is committed to young people and is a true NFHS friend.”

At this year’s summit, presentations by content speakers include: “Perspective and Inclusion” by Kevin Ringhofer, Ph.D., a national trainer and consultant specializing in prevention, health promotion and leadership development; “Relationship Building and Maintenance” by Deb Hult, a nationally recognized presenter in relational and motivational leadership and co-founder of Core Trainings; “Creating a Healthy Culture on Your Team” by Gregory A. Dale, Ph.D., a professor of sport psychology and sport ethics at Duke University and also the director of the sport psychology and leadership programs for Duke Athletics; and “Brain Mapping or (Goal Setting in the 21st Century)” by Omari Pearson, who serves as an author, speaker, facilitator, mentor and consultant to high schools, colleges, universities and multi-national corporations, and is quickly becoming a sought-after leader in education-driven life skills and development.

“We felt it was necessary to match some of the best and brightest students with the some of the best and brightest content experts,” Hopkins said.

On July 23, students will travel to Plainfield High School for a Unified Sports Experience with Indiana Special Olympic athletes. Students will interact with athletes through joint competitions and share athletic experiences through joint activities.

“It makes perfect sense for us to join forces with Unified Sports,” Hopkins said. “Students will be able to share their experiences with each other and appreciate differences while celebrating our similarities.”
Planning for the 2019 NFHS Student Leadership Summit began in September of last year when member state associations were given the option to participate. From there, student and adult ambassador applicants were selected by participating state associations earlier this year.

Registration for the NSLS for student ambassadors is free, and the NFHS provides hotel rooms, summit materials, meals, local programming and local transportation. Additionally, adult ambassadors are provided with summit materials, meals, local programming and local transportation.

The NFHS started the NSLS in 2015 after previously hosting the National Student Leadership Conference seven times (2001-03, 2007-10). As the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts, member associations felt the NFHS should continue its role in developing and nurturing the leadership skills of high school students.

For more information on the NSLS, visit the NFHS website at Click on “Resources,” then “Conferences & Meetings.”

This press release was written by Luke Modrovsky, a 2019 summer intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department. He is a senior sports management and communication studies student at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

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About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at