Leadership academy encourages students to take initiative

Jul. 02, 2014 @ 12:16 PM

“Proud, but not arrogant.”

The phrase conceptualized what staff from Davidson County Schools and the Davidson County Education Foundation sought to instill in the participants of the 22nd Bernard H. Leadership Academy on the campus of Davidson County Community College. As fifth and sixth-graders approached the podium during the closing ceremony of a weeklong program Friday, they repeatedly offered a familiar refrain to depict their favorite quote utilized in the curricula.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude,” said Elizabeth Lowery, a fifth-grade student, echoing a quote by renowned motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “kind, but not weak; bold, but not a bully; thoughtful, but not lazy; humble, but not timid; proud, but not arrogant.”

Each student had the opportunity to stand before friends, parents, teachers and board members to provide details about the program supported by the Davidson County Education Foundation, a non-profit, volunteer organization established to benefit the students of the Davidson County Schools system. The purpose of the leadership academy is to teach the children how to gain respect of peers and responsibly exercise authority.

Around 81 students received a certificate from Lorrie Varner, DCS director of middle schools in recognition of their completion of the program.

Among the achievements of this year's leadership team, Tina Gobble, coordinator of the Leadership Academy, announced that students raised hundreds of dollars for Alex's Lemonade Stand, a national foundation for juvenile cancer research. The sum had yet to be tallied Friday, as donations were still coming in. Canned food items were also collected for Fair Grove Family Resource Center and Pastor's Pantry in Lexington.

DCEF President Teresa Huffman implored the group to return to school in the fall with a renewed focus on being a “go-to person” for teachers and classmates. Besides suggesting that students encourage their classmates who might lack their confidence, she also addressed parents, tasking them with preparing their kids to change the culture which surrounds them.

She implied the participants in the leadership academy, which has a tradition of producing accomplished professionals – most recently, N.C. Senator Chad Barefoot – show potential in becoming leaders statewide and throughout the country.

"We may have a future governor or president of the United States,” Huffman said. “You never know.”

Davidson County Education Foundation will next host a STARS Academy, or Students Teaching and Reaching for Success, July 21-25 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.