LEAD Kicks Off Its 6th Year!

Posted on Monday, August 05, 2013 by LEAD

On August 5th, 2013 over 400 students, principals, and faculty from throughout all of the LEAD regions assembled at the Deshpande Foundation in Hubli to celebrate the momentous LEAD6 Kickoff event.  Ronnie Screwvala, Zarina Mehta Screwvala, Gururaj Deshpande, and Jaishree Deshpande appeared as Guests of Honor to further motivate the LEADers on their future initiatives.

Prior to the ceremony, guests were invited to interact with the LEADers and learn about various projects by browsing through projects displayed.  15 of LEAD5’s most unique and impactful projects from throughout different regions were displayed in the project stalls.  To maximize participation from guests and students alike, A LEAD tree was placed outside near the project stalls.  On this tree, students wrote special messages on paper leaves, which they stuck to the tree.  At the end of the day, the LEAD tree’s branches were full of student’s names and messages of favorite LEAD memories. 

LEAD6 Kickoff was packed with excitement and creativity. The program, anchored by Mrs. Deepashree Ram Mohan (LEAD Davangere Program Manager) and Vijay Matti (LEAD Intern), was commenced by the Guests of Honor. Each Guest of Honor entered the auditorium wearing the signature blue LEAD tshirts, and they lit candles on the stage before taking their seats in the audience. The program began with an introduction about LEAD by Ajay Suman Shukla (Functional Head, LEAD Program), followed by a LEAD Journey video which highlighted the major projects and achievements since LEAD began five years ago.  Faculties from N.V Degree College, Gulbarga; SDMCET, Dharwad; and KLEIT, Hubli, then shared about the positive impact LEAD has had on their students. The audience also got the chance to hear from the LEADers themselves; four students reflected on their leadership journeys, and proudly told about how LEAD had really helped them positively transform as individuals. In between the student and faculty reflections, students performed a "Say No To Drugs" dance, as well as a powerful mime that demonstrated the emotional and societal trauma caused by women harassment.

Vivek Pawar (Founder and CEO, Sankalp Semiconductor), who has collaborated with LEAD for several events, spoke about his admiration for the LEAD Program.  He said, “For the last two years, I have observed youth in LEAD.  After 6-8 months, I could already see the transforming.”

Towards the end of the program, the Guests of Honor were invited on the stage.  Ronnie and Zarina were presented with a LEAD momento, and each Guest of Honor was presented with a handcrafted card made by the LEAD students. 

Ronnie inspired the crowd by urging the students to persevere with their ideas and aspirations.  He told the LEADers, “The biggest ideas start small.  Keep up your confidence, and your idea will be your candle, your light.”  He also added, “Leave all of your fears behind.  If you want to be a leader, of course you will have challenges.  Believe only in yourself”.  Zarina, said that she was most impressed by LEAD’s slogan, “Complaints start with ‘they’, solutions start with ‘I”.  She said, “I love that you all actually want to have action that transforms into something real.  Enough complaining and blaming other people.  If you want to change the world, then you have to do something.”

The program concluded with the “Kickoff” in which the Guests of Honor and LEAD students painted a blank canvas.  The action of painting the blank canvas demonstrates the teamwork, creativity, creation, and inspiration that our LEADers embody. The Guests of Honor also unveiled and signed a LEAD banner and wrote messages for the LEAD Program. 

Our LEAD students are now energized to do bigger, better things in the upcoming year.  We can't wait to see the changes that LEADers will create in their communities, and within themselves!