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Four Sophomores Invited to Regional Leadership Conference

Selected for their budding leadership skills, four Seaford High School sophomores will have the opportunity to tap into that potential when they attend the 2021 Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership conference.

An interview committee selected Will Cascio, Taylor DiFondi, Billy Kind and Taylor Purcell to participate in the HOBY New York Metro area virtual conference on June 5 and 6. Seaford High School teachers nominated 11 students, who then had to complete an application, write an essay and meet with a panel of administrators, faculty members, guidance counselors and past HOBY attendees.


Will, a triple jumper on the varsity track and field team, is known as someone who motivates his teammates and is always willing to help everyone else out. He is a member of the Best Buddies Club, which pairs general education and special education students, and hopes to be a leader in organization in the future.


Taylor DiFondi was a winner of the Lions Club Award in eighth grade for her work with a peer tutoring program which not only provided academic help to other students but also assisted with organizational skills. Last year she was a captain of the junior varsity cheerleading squad and was a captain of her middle school softball team.


Billy was a captain on his middle school football, basketball and wrestling teams and treasurer of the National Junior Honor Society. After suffering an elbow injury before his freshmen year, he still joined his junior varsity football and basketball teammates on the sidelines to provide encouragement. He is also involved in Best Buddies and Key Club.


In her freshman year, Taylor Purcell was involved in several service events with the Key Club including making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the less fortunate and participating in a cleanup of the Tackapausha Preserve and a breast cancer awareness walk. She has also played volleyball and lacrosse since seventh grade.


Students attend the HOBY conference at the end of sophomore year, because it is as juniors and seniors that they take on expanded leadership roles. The four students say they plan to take what they learn in June and share that knowledge with others, because there are so many leadership opportunities at Seaford High School within clubs, sports and student government.


“That’s how you live your life, you learn it, you do it and you hand it down so other people can do things with your knowledge,” Will said, adding that he recognizes he was chosen for a reason and wants to deliver on those expectations.


Billy said that he hopes to be the same role model that older students were for him and hopefully lead projects that will make a positive difference at the school. Taylor DiFondi explained that she has always been inspired how those in the grades above her have made a great impact through their leadership responsibilities.


“It’s a great honor to be picked for HOBY,” she said. “I am determined to be a great leader. I won’t let my fellow students down.”


Taylor Purcell said she is looking to connect with up-and-coming student leaders from all over the region and hopefully get some ideas she can bring back to Seaford High School. She is thankful for the opportunity and honored that teachers and other students see her leadership potential.


The four students have already been tasked with a leadership role as they, along with past HOBY attendees, comprise a committee to plan virtual events to make the 95 full-time distance learning students feel more connected to the school. Assistant Principal Nicole Schnabel said that this is a student-led committee and they have already come up with some ideas including a virtual escape room team-building event and a Flashback Friday featuring elementary and middle school teachers.