On October 8-9, 2019, five students from Minnesota Valley Area Learning Center in Montevideo attended the MAAP (Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs) STARS (Success, Teamwork, Achievement, Respect, Self-esteem) Fall Leadership Conference at Lake Beauty Camp by Long Prairie.

This conference hosts 21 alternative schools from around the state with around 150 students and advisors in attendance. During the conference, students attended various breakout sessions centered on team building and planning their STARS projects for the year.

These included speakers such as Carl “Energizer” Olson, who spoke on always striving to become your best self, and Al Johnson who spoke on overcoming your circumstances and rising up to become great.

Students were also able to take in some of the activities that the camp had to offer. These included horseback riding, rock wall climbing, zip lining, and lights-out dodgeball.

Through this conference, students were able to start planning for the year in preparation for the main STARS conference of the year, which takes place in Bloomington in May. That conference is a competitive conference with almost 300 students in attendance annually.

Advisor Emily Dirksen is very excited for the upcoming year. “I have a great group of kids this year in the STARS program. Many have been involved now for two or three years, so they are very excited to start off this year and work on their projects that they will compete with in May."