Montrose High student organizes conference

Applying for a grant and organizing a summit for 14 high schools isn’t a typical senior year activity.

But it’s exactly what 17-year-old Emily Wolverton has committed much of her final year to accomplishing at Montrose High School.

The summit will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday in the old Ashley Furniture Homestore at 15 W. Main St. in Montrose. Student council members from schools in Cedaredge, De Beque, Delta, Dolores, Fruita, Grand Junction, Gunnison, Hotchkiss, Meeker, Montrose, Olathe, Palisade and Parachute will make presentations to each other about how their groups operate. Wolverton, who is president of her school’s student council, said she hopes students at the summit will be inspired by what other student councils are doing and learn ways to improve their own councils.

“I know the fundraisers and activities we do at Montrose can get old, so it’s a good opportunity to get ideas from other schools,” she said.

She had the idea to put together a summit for student councils on the Western Slope last summer when she attended a leadership camp in Washington, D.C. She had seen plenty of Front Range students get the chance to attend a Denver-based student council conference each fall, but noticed many students from smaller schools in towns far from the capital missed out on the opportunity.

She applied for a grant from ANNpower, a cooperation between retailer Ann Taylor and a women’s leadership group called Vital Voices that funded the D.C. camp she attended, and got $2,500 from the initiative. The money will pay for lunch at the summit and a keynote speaker for the event, Montrose-based motivational speaker Sue Hansen of Sue Hansen Speaks.

Montrose High’s faculty advisor to the student council, Renae Manuel, said Wolverton’s demonstration of leadership didn’t surprise her given past performance. But it did make her proud.

“We’re very impressed with how she applied for the grant on her own and kept everything under budget,” Manuel said.

Wolverton said she plans to attend Colorado State University, the University of Colorado or the University of Denver this fall. Organizing another summit at the collegiate level is a possibility, she said.

“Sharing ideas is a great way to connect to people, whether it’s in high school, college or as adults,” she said.


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