Hundreds of Wake County students took an important step toward becoming great leaders Tuesday. A ceremony at Daniels Middle School in Raleigh marked the beginning of the Summer Leadership Orientation for students of the Wake Young Men’s and Wake Young Women’s leadership academies.
The week-long camp gives students from the two new single-gender schools an opportunity to meet their classmates and practice team building. Superintendent Tony Tata and others shared inspirational stories of leadership with students to start their week.
“Leadership is the most important 21st century skill,” Superintendent Tata said. “You made the choice to be a part of this. Now it’s up to you to work hard and become the type of leader that will make you better, make your community better, and make the Wake County Public School System better.”
Jim Goodmon, president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company and head of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, told students they have the opportunity to build bright futures for themselves and their communities through the leadership academies.
“I think it’s really important for our public school system to offer lots of choices,” Goodmon said. “If we are going to compete with the other options out there, then our public schools have to offer a lot of options, and I think this is a good one.”
Retired U.S. Army General Hugh Shelton, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged students to focus on traits of strong leaders: integrity, honesty, diversity, compassion, and social responsibility.
“All of you involved in this innovative new educational program have what we call ‘the right stuff.’ You have the right stuff to succeed in life, and I commend you for that,” Shelton said.
The Wake Young Men’s and Young Women’s leadership academies officially begin the school year on August 13. Each will have 150 students in grades 6, 7, and 9 for the first year. In addition to building their skills as leaders, students will have an opportunity to earn college credit during their high school years.
Rising sixth grader Alyssa Chronister said she chose the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy for its smaller class sizes and unique course of study.
“It just spoke to me somehow. It seemed like a wonderful program,” Chronister said, “I want a challenge, and I want to learn how to be a great leader and team player.”