Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders.
Most of us can recognize the left-brained individual versus the right-brained one. Left-brained people tend to be logical and smart with numbers. A right-brained person is thoughtful, artistic and creative. It is quite clear David DiBrina, 17, possesses a balance that makes him strong in all areas.
DiBrina, who attends St. Charles College in Sudbury, plans to pursue a business career but he is just as passionate about theatre. He has performed in school productions and community theatre and, most recently, wrote, directed, produced and edited a video to promote his school's annual Christmas food drive.
The video, which included a parody of popular songs, inspired St. Charles College students, as well as elementary schools and businesses, to get involved and contribute to feeding Sudbury's hungry at Christmas.
"We collected 125,000 cans; our goal was 60,000, making this the single biggest contribution in history to the Sudbury Food Bank," says DiBrina. He has been involved with the school's food drive since he was in Grade 9 and each year took on more and more responsibility for making it successful.
Elected president of the St. Charles Student Council when he was just 16, DiBrina is serving a second term. The 17-year-old is extremely busy with extracurricular activities as well as community projects such as the Gift of Life organ donation campaign. Still, he maintains excellent grades with an average of 95 percent.
"I have worked with many great young leaders but none who compare to this young man," says Bev Belanger, a teacher at St. Charles College.
Principal Patty Mardero says, "David is by far the most impressive natural student leader with whom I have had the pleasure of working. All who have worked with David have found him to be an exceptional leader, highly competent, and impressively articulate. He is well-liked and respected by staff and peers. David has the natural intelligence, talent, work ethic and charisma to perform at an exceptionally high level. He is a born leader."
The teen's role model is his father, Michael DiBrina. "My father is a big influence in my life. He started a company from nothing. I get my inspiration and drive from him. He taught me to be passionate about what I am doing. When you are passionate, you strive for excellence."
This fall, a number of unfortunate events made bullying a major issue in national and international media. As a result, the St. Charles Student Council and some of the teachers decided to initiate an anti-bully Free To Be Me campaign.
"We decided something needed to be done to bring students' attention on how to deal with bullying," says DiBrina. "Then, we implemented procedures to make sure students know they are safe in the school. We have anonymous hall monitors to watch for bullies. Their job is to speak up and break the silence."
This Young Leader served two years as the student trustee on the Sudbury Catholic District School Board and was one of 60 Ontario students to sit on the Ministry of Education's Student Advisory Council. Last September, he attended the Ontario WE Day conference, an event for young leaders held in Toronto with notable speakers, activists and award-winning performers including former American vice-president Al Gore and Canadian politician Justin Trudeau.
A gifted public speaker thanks to his theatrical experiences, DiBrina was given the opportunity to introduce Trudeau when he visited St. Charles in December 2012.
"The teachers keep saying they are going to fail me to keep me in high school," says DiBrina.
He hopes to attend Western University in the fall and get accepted to its prestigious Richard Ivey School of Business.
Students and staff are confident that when David DiBrina leaves the doors of St. Charles it won't be the last they hear of him.