The preparation for an event the caliber of Night of Champions begins months out. However, the color schemes and seating charts are not the only things being prepared.
“The preparation for Night of Champions happened well before the event. The prep started weeks ago during our lab sessions with students,” says Ashlie Johnson, Chief Program Officer, Champions For Learning.
12th grade students began preparing for Night of Champions weeks prior to the event.
What began with networking mixers ended with high school seniors putting their newly learned skills to the test Friday, February 4th.
Night of Champions is a signature event at Champions For Learning, this year sponsored by Huntington Private Bank. The event celebrates the community of Champions that have changed the lives of hundreds of Collier County students. This important celebration showcases the vibrant community, students and volunteers who help make Champions For Learning successful.
High school seniors who participated in this year’s event first learned how to converse with a stranger. They were taught and practiced scenarios such as entering a conversation, exiting a conversation and interrupting a conversation.
The following week, students put their newly learned conversation skills to the test at the Naples Yacht Club, where they learned proper etiquette and table manners. Former Mayor of Naples, Bill Barnett and Brenda O’Connor of the Naples Yacht Club, were in attendance to teach students the power of a good handshake.
“All of the efforts we have made in preparation, were truly to equip the students so they could be authentically themselves and actually enjoy the evening,” says Johnson.
Preparation for the event also included teaching students how to write an effective thank you note. This, to ensure table hosts at the event are shown appreciation and thanked.
These lifelong lessons will set students up for success in whatever they do.
High school seniors are not the only students being impacted by this event. Students like Jeffrey, an 11th grader at Lorenzo Walker Technical High School and part of the Champions for Learning program, recognize the importance of Night of Champions.
‘I felt like it was an opportunity for me to contribute to the community, especially Champions For Learning. I know they do a lot for the students. The least you can do as a student is try and help contribute with them,” says Jeffrey.
Jeffrey dedicated a Monday afternoon to helping Champions For Learning stuff envelopes for the event. A tedious task that he completed with a smile.
“I could be home, doing some homework or just chilling in my room. I felt like, I always want to contribute, especially with this program. They offer a lot of opportunities. They offer a lot of help for not just me, but to every single student who is a part of Champions,” says Jeffrey.
Next year, current 11th graders like Jeffrey in the Champions For Learning program will have the same opportunity to learn etiquette and life skills in preparation for Night of Champions.