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Chesapeake College graduates latest class of leaders

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WYE MILLS – A new crop of leaders emerged Thursday afternoon at Chesapeake College. Nine students graduated from the fourth class of the Chesapeake College Student Leadership Academy. The academy is an intensive, semester-long experience designed to develop and enhance student leadership skills using workshops, conference participation, and community projects to accomplish those goals.

The students comprising the Class of 2006 indicated the academy experience profoundly changed their views on leadership.

"My whole outlook on leadership has changed," said Galena resident Shanarah Dolan. "Leadership goes beyond the stereotypical leader. Real leaders lead by learning from their mistakes, constantly reassessing, and continuing to grow as individuals."

Chesapeake College President Stuart Bounds endorsed Dolan´s emerging view of leadership.

"Leadership is not the province of the few – it´s everyone´s responsibility," said Dr. Bounds. "I´m delighted with this program. We´re proud to have it, and we´re proud of this year´s graduates."

Most of the graduates said the "Little Leaders" project – a community activity involving the students with children at the college´s Early Childhood Development Center – was their favorite part of the program.

"The most meaningful part of the program was the ´Little Leaders´ project. It was great to see the smiles on the kids´ faces," said Greensboro resident Christina Acree.

The students also participated in a statewide student leadership conference at Frederick Community College. Another key program component was the personal portfolio developed by each leader, which included a personal mission statement, an academic plan, examples of their strongest academic work, and other materials they can use in job interviews or college admissions interviews.

"I think one of the main benefits of the Leadership Academy is that it allows students to discover their leadership style and their leadership potential," said Counselor/Student Life Director Amy Childs, who developed and oversees the academy with Multicultural Affairs Director Dana Bowser. "Once they discover that potential, they can use it in their studies and throughout life."

The students and Dr. Bounds praised Childs and Bowser for their commitment to the academy and its participants.

"They are terrific," Dr. Bounds said of Childs and Bowser. "It´s their vision that made this program possible."

"Those two (Childs and Bowser) have really made a difference in our lives. I look at them as two angels who were there when I needed them," said Federalsburg resident Shirley Lake, noting they made her shift from worker to student a little easier.

"It´s hard to make the transition from factory worker for 16 years to student," said Lake. "Then one day I saw a flyer in my mailbox asking me to apply for the leadership academy. Not long after that I heard a perky voice on my answering machine (Bowser) say, ´Hello, Shirley, you have been accepted into the leadership academy.´ I was excited to be a part of it."

Having helped develop a new set of leaders, Childs and Bowser hope to now tap this leadership resource for a wide variety of student activities.

"I think some of our most prominent student leaders have come out of the Leadership Academy and gone into other organizations like Student Government, Phi Theta Kappa and UHURU (multicultural student union)," noted Childs. "They develop these skills in the Leadership Academy and then use their skills for the betterment of the college."

PHOTO CUTLINE

Chesapeake College graduated its fourth class of the Student Leadership Academy on Thursday. The graduates, left to right, are: (standing) Shirley Lake, Danielle Smith, Leonardo Tanaka, Christina Acree, Shanarah Dolan, (seated) Kathy Pearson, Susan White, and Hope Leslie Bandura. Not pictured: Tara Johnson

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