LBHS selects HOBY Leadership Seminar attendees

Long Beach High School sophomores Talia Fernandez and Philippe Vargas-Charlot have been selected to attend the Hugh O’Brien Youth (HOBY) New York State Leadership Seminar this June at Adelphi University. Both were chosen from a competitive process through which they were nominated by faculty members and administrators, submitted essays and completed interviews. 

The HOBY Leadership Seminars are specifically intended for high school sophomores and recognize and further develop student leadership qualities. According to, the curriculum develops leadership from three perspectives: Personal Leadership, Group Leadership, and Leadership for Society. The weekend-long event features various activities and workshops designed around these areas.

As the primary winner from Long Beach High School, Talia’s essay detailed a Halloween trick-or-treat can collecting project and getting people involved in such initiatives. Alternate winner Philippe focused his essay on stereotypes and going beyond them.

“I’m excited to go to the conference,” Talia said. “I read about Hugh O’Brien and how he got to live his dream and give back.”

Talia is Sophomore Class Secretary and helps to coordinate initiatives such as the class Olympics, fundraisers and other events, including the can drive. She is a member of the Key Club as well and has participated in various community service and outreach projects. She also volunteers with Book Fairies, an organization that delivers book donations to schools.

Academically, Talia is a dedicated student who takes part in science research opportunities. She is musically inclined as well and plays the violin in the chamber orchestra and is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She also participates on the tennis and badminton teams.

Philippe is actively involved in his school community. He is a current member of the badminton and swim teams, and in previous years, participated on the track, wrestling, baseball and soccer teams.

“I wanted to experience it all,” he said. Philippe has also been part of Model Congress.

During the summer, Philippe attended Camp Timanous and was one of 10 teens elected to hold leadership roles as part of the Woodsman Club. In this capacity, he spoke to younger campers and helped them to get acclimated.

Both Talia and Philippe are planning to participate in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program starting in their junior years.