RSCC Youth Leadership Academy teaches students important lessons

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“Even if you are a small group, you can get a lot of great things done if you work together”

Effective leadership requires organization, a commitment to teamwork and an open mind.
Students participating in the Roane County Youth Leadership Academy at Roane State Community College were taught these lessons and many others during the weeklong program in June.
The six rising high school seniors participated in classroom discussions about leadership and in numerous exercises designed to teach them to work together.
“I learned that you have to be organized and when to lead and when to listen to other people and to be open to new ideas,” said student Rebecca Byers of Rockwood High School.
High school faculty selected the students to participate in the program.
One of the program’s benefits is that it gives students from different high schools opportunities to meet one another.
“I feel I’ve gotten a lot out of this,” Hannah Kyle of Midway High School said. “I’ve never been good at meeting new people, and I’ve gotten to know and work with other class members. They are all nice and friendly.”
Ryne Goldston of Harriman High School added, “I figured it would be something new and interesting. I’ve met some cool people and learned new things about what it takes to be a leader.”
During one activity, students worked in pairs to design a container that would protect an egg when dropped from about 20 feet.
Each team created a container that successfully protected the egg.
The project emphasized the importance of communication because the students had to decide on a design, select their materials and often make adjustments to their original plan.
“Whenever you learn how to communicate well with others, you’ll be better prepared for the future and not be afraid of being open to new ideas,” Hailey Caldwell of Roane County High School said.
Lucas Johnson of Midway High School said the project and the academy taught him the importance of communication, people skills and a willingness to switch directions when circumstances require changes.
“You have to be open-minded to new ideas and to change,” he said.
For Parker McCullough of Rockwood High School, one of the best parts of the week was watching the movie, “Paper Clips.”
The film tells the story of students at Whitwell Middle School in Marion County, Tenn.
The students received national attention for their efforts to collect 6 million paper clips in memory of Holocaust victims.
Paper clips were chosen because Norwegians wore paper clips as a protest against Nazi occupation during World War II.
Since the project started in 1998, more than 30 million paper clips have been sent to the school, and the paper clip collection has become part of Whitwell’s Children’s Holocaust Memorial.
The collection is housed in a German rail car once used to transport victims to concentration, labor and death camps.
McCullough said the film taught him “even if you are a small group, you can get a lot of great things done if you work together.”
In addition to Roane State and the Roane County Chamber of Commerce, Youth Academy sponsors were TVA, Roane Medical Center, First Bank of Tennessee, Tennessee Eye Care, Citizens National Bank, Volunteer Electric Co-op, AGA Insurance, Bobby and Deborah Davis, and The Roane Alliance/Innovation Valley Inc.