State of the State Conference 2018

Matt Alley's picture

The Michigan Association of Student Councils and Honor Societies (MASC/MAHS) 27th annual State Leadership Conference took place March 24-26 in Grand Rapids. Nearly 2,000 student leaders from more than 100 schools from across the state came together to showcase the strength of Michigan's education system – our young leaders.

Each year, this conference recognizes the importance of growing strong student leaders and the individual achievements of our schools. It also helps create stronger buildings through the sharing of educational models and programmatic concepts that enrich a school's overall learning environment. With 22 student showcase presentations, three national keynote speakers, multiple curricular activities and a full-day adviser program; Michigan's top student and educational leaders took part in an incredible weekend designed to inspire and create tangible change in Michigan's educational culture.

Highlighted Program Content

Charity of the Year
Each year MASC/MAHS selects one non-profit organization as a statewide Charity of the Year to increase funding, resource sharing and overall exposure across the state. This year we selected the National Alliance on Mental Health – Michigan and helped raise more than $86,000 that will be used for programming and resources for families and schools across Michigan.

NAMI Michigan and its affiliates are dedicated to the improvement of the quality of life for persons, families and others, who are affected by mental illness, including children with serious emotional disorders, through support, education, advocacy and research.

Student Showcase Sessions
During our Regional Connect conferences more than 90 student program presentations were submitted and presented to students across the state. From this competition, the top 22 were selected to present at our State Conference. For great program ideas and easy access for our member schools, check out our Showcase Presentations and bring some new ideas to your buildings line-up.

Keynote Presenters
Students also had the opportunity to hear from three nationally recognized keynote speakers, who spoke on various leadership-related topics, including:

Kevin Breel
Kevin Breel's TED Talk, "Confessions of a Depressed Comic," has garnered more than four million views, making it one of the most watched TED talks ever on mental health and depression. In the four years since he delivered it, Kevin has been called one of the "Most Influential Millennials in the World" by Parade magazine, and he has become a national ambassador for Bell "Let's Talk." His honest and humorous take on his first-hand experience with depression, and his message of ending the stigma around mental illness once and for all, resonates with all of his audiences.

Shaun Derik
For more than 10 years, speaker and performing artist, Shaun Derik, has dedicated his life to helping people – young and old – reconnect with their passion and go after their dreams. Through his dynamic message delivery, which is a blend of music and comedy, audience members leave Shaun's presentations feeling motivated and energized; as a result are encouraged to take massive steps towards the achievement of their life-long goals.

Davey Muise
Davey Muise uses his music as a vessel to tell youth across the globe that they are not alone in their fight. His message is that although we may feel weak and useless on our own, we can band together and become a force strong enough to foster real change in our lives and even in the lives of others. We can "find our shovel" and dig ourselves (and others) out of the negativity we may be buried in.

The Adviser Network
A favorite feature to our state conference is the full-day adviser program. On Sunday, advisers have the opportunity to attend a four-part workshop, consisting of keynote speakers, a resource sharing session and an Adviser Roundtable discussion. This year's speakers included:

  • Felix Yerace: President of the Board of Directors of The Global Switchboard
  • Andy Costanzo: Workshop Director, Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils
  • Kevin Sutton: Attorney, Lusk and Albertson
  • John Roh: Jostens, Renaissance Program
  • Wendy Zdeb: Executive Director, Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals

Make sure your school has an updated MASC/MAHS Michigan Student Leadership membership for more resources, programs and our Adviser LeadLines and Monthly Checklist newsletters. For more information on joining MASC/MAHS Michigan Student Leadership, contact Matt Alley at