Leadership Academy prepares students for success

Sen. Chad Barefoot inspired as a fifth grader.
Jun. 28, 2013 @ 03:45 PM

Becoming a good listener is key to becoming a greater leader. The concept was thrown around repetitively among a group of fifth and sixth graders who spent last week on the on the campus of Davidson County Community College.

These elementary and middle school students convened June 21 for the closing ceremony of the 21st Bernard H. Thomas Leadership Academy.

"I think it was really fun learning how to be a leader in your community," said Grayson Watts, a fifth grade student. "I learned a lot about working together and listening to everyone's opinions about what we should do, to really work as a group."

Students completed a weeklong program supported by the Davidson County Education Foundation to learn how to gain respect of peers and responsibly exercise authority. Around 75 students received a certificate from Dr. Fred Mock before a small crowd of friends, parents, board members and Dr. Mary Rittling, president of DCCC.

Hours prior to the ceremony, Chad Barefoot, one of North Carolina's youngest state senators, made a return visit to the same Leadership Academy which inspired him as a fifth grade student nearly two decades ago.

Among the achievements of this year's leadership team, Tina Gobble, coordinator of the Leadership Academy, announced that students raised just shy of $200 for Alex's Lemonade Stand, a national foundation for juvenile cancer research. A total of 420 canned food items were  donated to Fair Grove Family Resource Center and Pastor's Pantry in Lexington.

Kelly Parker, a proud fifth grader, offered her thoughts on the week as she reflected on everything she learned.

"At my school, I was on the leadership team and we had a canned food drive. I was the person who kept count of all the cans and stuff," Kelly said. "I thought it was just a job, but it turns out she picked me because she thought I was most responsible."

Davidson County Education Foundation will next host a STARS Academy, or Students Teaching and Reaching for Success, July 22-26 on the DCCC campus. For more information, contact Laura Koontz at 905-0976.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.