The San Jose Sharks are used to having great leaders come through the Shark tank, including current Captain Patrick Marleau
and the team’s first captain and current General Manager Doug Wilson. But on Tuesday, April 3 a whole different group of leaders took over HP Pavilion during the 2007 UPS/Sharks Foundation 8th Grade Leadership Awards Dinner.
This awards program, now in its tenth year, is sponsored by the UPS Corporation and The Sharks Foundation and is supported by the Office of Education in both Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. It is designed to recognize the outstanding leadership qualities of local middle school students both in and out of the classroom.
In total, 64 students were selected by their school administration for their efforts. Each school is responsible for determining their own criteria for an outstanding leader and this year’s group represented a broad range of leadership activities and skills.
“What is leadership exactly? What does it look like?” asked Laura Johnston, Sharks Foundation Manager and emcee for the evening, “Tonight it comes in many forms. Some of you are student council president or captain of the volleyball team and others are the student everyone turns to for help in math or the oldest sibling in a single parent home who makes dinner each night. No matter what the act, you are all amazing leaders.”
For their efforts, each student was invited to the awards dinner at HP Pavilion where they were presented with a commemorative plaque, a puck autographed by Sharks right wing and program spokesman Mike Grier and two tickets to the Sharks vs. Calgary Flames home game on April 5.
Though Mike Grier was unable to attend the ceremony due to the team’s impending road game against the Anaheim Ducks the following night, he did address the group via a prerecorded video in which he talked of the importance of leadership from both a team and individual standpoint and what skills a leader needed to possess in order to inspire greatness in others.
Other speakers for the evening included Benn Camicia, San Jose Operations Manager for UPS; Malcolm Bordelon, Executive Vice President, Business Operations for the San Jose Sharks; Michael Watkins, the Superintendent of Education for Santa Cruz County; and Colleen Wilcox, the Superintendent of Education for Santa Clara County.
Bordelon not only congratulated the students on their current success, but reminded them of the challenges leaders face heading into the future. “Leadership skills are most evident when times are hard and when things appear most bleak. Successful people still encounter disappointment and frustration, but it is the way they respond to problems that makes them different from those who are overwhelmed by difficult situations. Continue to hone your leadership skills and be confident in the choices you will make.”
The evening concluded with the presentation of the first ever UPS/Sharks Foundation Community Award, which was presented to an outstanding UPS employee for their volunteer and leadership efforts in the community. During each Sharks home game the UPS organization provides volunteers to The Sharks Foundation to assist with Silent Auction fundraisers, Fremont Bank Reading Is Cool Book Drives, Second Harvest Canned Food Drives and other community initiatives. This year’s Community Award was presented to Stan Chew for his efforts at these and other events throughout the year. Camicia presented the honor.
“UPS is proud to be a part of such a wonderful program and as an organization, we are humbled by the incredible examples each of you are to your friends and classmates. We’re glad to have our own outstanding leader as well,” said Benn Camicia, San Jose Operations Manager for UPS, as he addressed the audience. This was UPS’s first year sponsoring the awards.
For more information on this program and a complete list of this year’s UPS/Sharks Foundation 8th Grade Leadership awards recipients, please click here