Students complete 19th annual STARS academy
After a fun-filled week of memorable activities, 28 Davidson County middle school students at the 19th annual "STARS" Academy were reminded Friday at Davidson County Community College that their responsibility does not end with the camp.
STARS, or Students Teaching and Reaching for Success, is a summer program hosted by the Davidson County Education Foundation which helps rising seventh-grade students hone leadership skills through small and large team-building group activities. Greg Collins, a guidance counselor at Central Davidson Middle School, served as STARS coordinator for a sixth consecutive summer.
Scott Newton, a Davidson County Education Foundation board member, addressed students at the closing ceremony regarding their long-term potential and warned them of their responsibility as leaders to make smart decisions for the good of society.
“You guys are going to be making some choices, even as seventh-graders, that are going to lead people in a better direction,” Newton said. “Your brains work wonderfully. Your personalities light up rooms. You were given things here that can ultimately help people, but if you choose to stay quiet, you are shorting yourselves.
“But you have the potential to change so many people's lives. I can't wait to hear what some of you guys are able to do.”
Collins echoed Newton's sentiments in his remarks to a small gathering of parents at DCCC. After he called students' attention to some of the lessons they learned, he and Davidson County Schools' Donna Stafford honored each participant with a certificate presented to them for completing the program.
He also thanked their parents and charged them with overseeing the next step.
“It was an honor and a privilege to look after your children,” Collins said. “What we hope is that they'll take some of these skills to their next step of education.”
Jenah Jordan, a student from North Davidson Middle, took the stage during the ceremony to recap a few of the highlights from the week's events. After laughing through a slideshow of the fun moments from the week, Jordan spoke to the nature of meeting her new peers.
She was encouraged by the camaraderie.
“This week, I walked in here thinking I would find that I am an outcast, someone who doesn't fit in with this group,” Jordan said. “I was wrong. These people are no different than me. They're leaders, and put themselves together as one team to accomplish a common purpose.”
The Davidson County Education Foundation manages more than 30 scholarships for high school seniors and offers STARS Academy and Bernard H. Thomas Leadership Academy each year.
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3578, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.