USM Hosts a Leadership Program for High School Students

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Students for high school across the country came together Friday morning in USM’s Thad Cochran Center to discuss the importance of being a good leader.

“My mom talked about it at first, and I was like, ‘Hey, Leadership Camp sounds like a good thing to do,’” leadership program student, Ora Williams said. “I need to become a better leader because in the past I’ve been more of a follower, so I was like this might be a good idea to get me out of my shell.”

“We teach them the fundamentals from basic public speaking to designing a plan, to working with a group,” director of the program, Heather Houston said. “All of those basic things you need to know to be a leader.”

The program consists of three years, and each year represents a new level of leadership. Year one students learn the basics, and by year three students learn group dynamics and the legal aspects of leadership.

Also, students don't shy away from taking on the nation’s toughest topics. One topic discussed Friday happened to be race relations.

“I wanted to hit on racial discrimination being a part of the country right,” leadership program student, Kenneth Irving said. “Even though we are not in segregation, but there is still discrimination against black people, and I just want people to know the good side of black men. We are not just thugs. We are also smart individuals. We can own businesses.”

Irving hopes one day to break the barriers that lie as a roadblock between different races.

“It's always just one person to start a whole domino effect because I know that one day I’m going to be on a stage, where people will listen to me and what I have to say, and how that feels is just amazing.”

 

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