Alcorn and Claiborne County hold first Youth Leadership Academy

Twenty-five high school students from Claiborne County came to Alcorn State University to participate in the first Claiborne County Board of Supervisors Youth Leadership Academy held June 17-28, 2013.

“The goal of the Academy is to nurture future leadership for the county,” stated Brenda Buck, county administrator. "We partnered with Alcorn to provide our youths with a holistic approach to building not only leadership characteristics but developing a belief in community involvement and volunteerism.”

Alcorn’s Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Educational Equity and Inclusion, Claiborne County Economic Development personnel and community organizations provided wholesome activities for the Academy participants. Students received information on the admission process at Alcorn, theater and etiquette training, as well as lessons in personal finance and health awareness, and participated in mock interviews.

Dr. Derek Greenfield, Educational Equity and Inclusion director, said, “Our office coordinated the leadership and civic engagement portion of the Academy. After receiving extensive leadership training, the students will have an opportunity to develop their own community service project to be implemented during the upcoming school year.”

Upon completion of the program, the participants will receive a certificate of participation and a stipend of $300. During the luncheon that was held at the end of the program, students had a chance to demonstrate the work they conducted during the past two weeks to an audience of their parents and county leadership.

Daniel Porter, District 5 supervisor for the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors, explained that the Board expects that upon completion of the Academy, the students would have a greater insight of efficient and effective leadership and the opportunity to see true greatness that lies within them. “The Board’s new initiative is to develop a long-term vision of youth community action teams that will spearhead projects and functions in their neighborhoods.”

Buck added, “Each county district will provide $500 for the students’ community development projects.”

Malik Gaines, a junior at Port Gibson High School, shared that most of all he liked that the program involved students in engaging conversations and helped kids with low self-esteem to open up and speak. “The exercises offered by our instructors taught us to communicate with each other better.”

Marqueze Little, a senior from Port Gibson High School, shared that the Academy helped him and his friends to realize what qualities they have and what they need to work on. “I would like to play baseball and football in college, and leadership is a key quality for me to become a successful athlete.”

The funding for the Academy was provided by the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors. The Academy participants thank Alcorn State University and Board members Mr. Edwin Smith, Board president, Mr. Allan Burks, vice president, Mr. Charlie Norrell Sr., District 2 supervisor, Mr. Ronald Shoulders, District 4 supervisor, and Mr. Daniel Porter, District 5 supervisor, for a great experience and a chance to build their knowledge and character.

The Academy will be held again July 15-26 and engage another group of 25 youths.

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Students engaged in team building exercise.

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Graduate student and program facilitator Akeri Watts (left) with the Academy participants.

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Brenda Buck presnets award for the best presentation during mock interview to the Academy participant Cleveland Allison.