LPS and Huskers link up to build future leaders with annual event

Lincoln Public Schools elementary students laid the groundwork to become the next generation of leaders this spring.

Nearly 100 LPS students in grades 3-5 participated in the annual Link N Leaders event. They were nominated by their school’s administrators to participate in an afternoon of character-building activities with Husker student-athletes hosted by the LPS Special Education Department and Nebraska Athletics. 

“I wanted to come here so I can become a better leader and get to know people better,” Pyrtle fourth grade student Wyatt said.

The student-athletes split participants into several groups and rotated them throughout the Hawks Championship Center. Then, they strengthened their leadership muscles with various exercises centered around the athletic department’s core values of loyalty, trust, teamwork, respect and integrity. 

“We make our foundation off of these qualities,” Husker student-athlete Marissa Popoola said. “Our leaders here, especially in all of our different sports, we take  our time and we put in a lot of hard work and that's kind of what we build our foundation and our success off, and I think it's a really good tool for our leaders to tell these young and uprising kids.”

The senior from Kansas was instrumental in helping organize the event. Popoola said it’s as much fun for her peers as it is for the elementary students, and developing these talents early is important. 

“I think a lot of kids kind of look for something that stands out to them or makes them special,” she said. “Recognizing, ‘Hey, like you're a leader.’ I think it kind of gives them a new perspective on life.”

“Opportunities like this honor and reinforce these students who are role models in their schools,” Cindy Brunken said. “It helps them see themselves as future leaders and gives them tools to practice the skills.”

Brunken serves as a team leader for the LPS Special Education Department. She also helps coordinate Link N Leaders. The event has been running for three decades and it’s open to all LPS elementary schools. She encourages all elementary administrators to keep identifying more youth who demonstrate these core values to participate next year. 

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Published: May 13, 2024, Updated: May 13, 2024

Linking Up for Leadership! Nearly 100 LPS students in grades 3-5 had an unforgettable afternoon with Husker student-athletes at the annual Link N Leaders event! These talented students were nominated by their school administrators for their outstanding character and leadership skills.