Local students learn about leadership

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Staff Writer

Four local students, considered to be leaders in their high schools, were invited to participate in the first "Tomorrow’s Promise" leadership Conference for Alabama’s Future, Wendell Mitchell Leadership Series, that ended with a luncheon on Monday.

Almost 40 high school students participated in the program held June 23-25 at Troy State University. Pike County students chosen to participate were: Meredith Griffin of Pike County High School, Will Williams of Pike Liberal Arts School, Lydia Yancey of Charles Henderson High School, and Toni Deveridge of Goshen High School.

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The goal of the program is to identify high school students with leadership potential and provide specialized training in the fundamentals of leadership, according to Shirley Woodie, director of the Institute for Leadership Development at TSU.

Over the weekend, students attended seminars, participated in team-building activities and social activities.

All they learned culminated with a luncheon on Monday, during which they received certificates from the program’s namesake, State Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne.

Mitchell, who is considered a quiet, but effective, leader in the Alabama Senate, said he was proud to be among the future leaders of this state.

He offered the students advice learned from experience.

"We should all have goals," Mitchell told the students, adding perseverance will make those goals possible.

"If you don’t try, you never will succeed."

He illustrated that point by saying one of America’s most popular and effective presidents, Abraham Lincoln, ran for public office seven times before he was ever elected. Also, Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb on his first try.

Mitchell also told the students to "think outside the box" and always remember who helped you get where you are.

"Those in public office who think, me myself and I, lose," Mitchell said. "You have to show a certain humility."

Encouraged by comments made by the students, Mitchell, who helped fund the program, said he hopes it will continue to offer high school students lessons in leadership.

He also pledged to continue funding the program "as long as I stay in the Legislature."