Desire to Lead program inspires athletes

Learning to become leaders and helping out community

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Maria Perez Barriga

Junior Robert Perelman talks to Jeremy Boone on Facebook Live about the winter drive Desire to Lead held for Park. Desire to Lead is a program run by Boone which last about 10 weeks and helps build leadership skills for athletes nationwide.

Maria Perez Barriga

Attending weekly Zoom meetings and gaining leadership advice and experience, junior Robert Perelman said he was thrilled to meet other student athletes and special guests. 

“It was really exciting. It was fun being able to see people from across the country and interact with them. It was a really good experience with the leader Jeremy Boone being very exciting and a really good speaker, he brought on guest speakers too, which is also very cool,” Perelman said. 

According to strength and conditioning coach Jessica Gust, Jeremy Boone organized a program for chosen athletes to improve their leadership skills with about 800 student participants. 

“It is a nationwide program hosted by Jeremy Boone who is a leadership coach for mostly athletes and coaches, but also works with business populations and lots of other interesting folks like leaders in the military. He put together this program called Desire to Lead and it’s targeted towards high school student athletes and schools were able to apply to participate in the program,” Gust said.  

Gust said athletes were chosen based on the sports coaches’ recommendations on who they believed had a chance to grow to become exceptional leaders for the team. 

“We asked sports coaches to recommend kids they felt had leadership potential, not necessarily kids that were already demonstrating great leadership qualities but kids the coaches really felt had some potential to be good leaders on their team,” Gust said.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity that Gust gave me and a few other students to be a part of this program because I really learned a lot from the few months from it about what I can recognize in my life to like improve myself everyday”

— Liam Rapp

Sophomore Rachel Katzovitz said she enjoyed gaining advice from speakers and getting to be a part of a community that shares similar struggles and experience. 

“It was really fun. I definitely learned a lot more and I like inspirational sayings and there’s a lot of those, that was fun to have. It was a really good community that we met and it was cool to see other people from other states and them being in the same position as ours,” Katzovitz said. 

Junior Liam Rapp said he looks forward to spring when the program returns for athletes and is appreciative of the experience he earned from the program. 

“I am so grateful for the opportunity that Gust gave me and a few other students to be a part of this program because I really learned a lot from the few months from it about what I can recognize in my life to like improve myself everyday,” Rapp said. “I have really been working on (improving myself) so I take a lot of value from what I learned.”

Gust said she is impressed with the athletes’ work ethic and their growth throughout the program and looks forward to when groups come back together to share what they learned. 

“I am super proud of the kids and all the hard work they did. It was so fun to watch them deep dive into their own thoughts about leadership and their role in their program,” Gust said. “It’s been really fun to listen to their language change and hear them actually using the stuff that they learned.”