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Local Middle and High School students sharpen leadership skills at Leadership Summit

Pic #6Several Colleton County Middle and High School students recently attended The BE: SC 2015 Student Leadership Summit which was facilitated by Teach for America South Carolina and the TFA SC Ambassadors. The groups partnered with Southside Middle School in Florence School District One to create the leadership summit. Eligible students ranged from grades six through high school and were from Orangeburg, Williamsburg, Colleton, Charleston, Florence One, Lee, Marion and Lake City. Students were handpicked to attend by their teachers who naturally saw them as leaders in the classroom.

During an interview with the members of the Colleton County High School participants freshman John Campbell said, “I did not know why I was chosen to attend the summit. I am quiet. I only talk when I need to and I thought that because of that I was not a leader, but after going to the summit I realized there are different types of leaders and now I know what my strengths are and what I need to work on to be a stronger leader.”

The one day leadership experience forced the students to examine current South Carolina issues as well as topics on fostering and developing strong social and academic skills to help participants determine their own unique path. Students were separated from their Colleton County group and placed with other students and asked questions about their community. “During one challenge, we were asked to step forward if we agreed with the statements being made. The statement was ‘I would raise my child in the community where I was raised.’ I was the only person in my group to step forward. It made me feel proud that I was proud of where I am from. It was also nice to let others know how nice our school is. I felt bad for the school we visited because their facility was not nearly as nice as ours. I am very proud of everything we have here in Colleton,” said freshman Desiree Muckenfuss.

The goals of the summit were to provide the students with the opportunity to do four things: First, gain awareness and community engagement skills necessary to become successful leaders, particularly the ability to recognize their own strengths. Second, to build awareness of their roles as agents of positive change in their own networks. Third, to identify pathways to improving their communities. Last, students learned their role in analyzing social justice issues and how they relate to equity in our community.

The participants were all very excited they were given the opportunity to go saying they would love to be able to go to similar programs in the future. They formed friendships with students from other schools that they hope will last a long time. The students hope to use the knowledge they gained at the summit in a way that positively affects Colleton County. We look forward to seeing how far these future leaders will go.


Christie Slocum (519 Posts)