Leaders in action
Some people may be born leaders, but many more are shaped into leadership roles.
Newton County is fortunate to have a program purposefully guiding young leaders to develop their skills and to open their eyes to the leadership needs in our community.
Each year, 21 sophomores and juniors are chosen based on their emerging leadership skills, grades, and community involvement to join the Youth Leadership Institute.
Alumni of the program can be found throughout our community today—training employees, running civic groups, managing businesses and using their leadership skills to help our community and those around us.
During an overnight retreat at the University of Georgia, students focus on teamwork and personality assessment to build leadership skills through a non-traditional classroom setting.
The students join the county’s adult leadership program, Leadership Newton, for a trip to the state capitol to meet state officials and pose for the traditional photograph with the governor. Another day is spent visiting local government and industry sites to meet local leaders and see how leadership is used in Newton County. A professional development day focuses on topics such as interpersonal communication, public speaking, business and personal etiquette and other topics essential to leadership.
An addition this year is a community service requirement, further emphasizing the need for leadership and service in our own community.
Finally, students in the program are required to visit local government meetings to see leadership in action.
This year, four rising juniors were selected to represent Newton County at the three-day Georgia Youth Summit. The biannual event brings teams of four youth and one adult partner together with state leaders “to increase awareness of state and local issues, enhance youth-adult partnerships on the local level and to equip youth to become active locally in the betterment of their community,” according to the official web site.
The team met prior to the Summit to develop a report on local demographics, resources and needs and developed a plan to address a need in our community at the summit.
Almost 700 youth from 137 counties attended the Summit, representing the best of youth leadership in our community. These students use their natural ability, the lessons they have learned from local leaders and the resources given through the Youth Summit to make a difference right here, right now.
If you would like to support their program in some way, please feel free to contact me at any time to volunteer your services or find out more. The following is a report directly from our team:
“In September of 2008, Sherita Gregory, Jasmine Simpson, Tyler Ransom, and Kyle Dobins were the four high school students chosen to represent Newton County at the 2008 Georgia Youth Summit.
“During the Summit, students were given the opportunity to come up with an adult/youth partnership project to benefit Newton County. Their project idea concerned Newton County’s test scores from the SAT, ACT and the GHSGT.
“Theirproject is calledOperation S.A.G. (SAT, ACT, and GHSGT) which will hopefully improve our test scores and also give students the opportunity to score exceedingly high on these tests.
“Therefore, students will be able to earn scholarships and obtain a broad variety of colleges to choose from.
“However, in order to begin this program they would like to have four teachers from each high school inNewton County (one representing each core subject) who would like to dedicate their time to improve Newton County’s test scores.
“The program will consist of a few Saturdays before the SATs, ACTs, and GHSGTs, where teachers will go through a SAT book and help students understand the problems, situations, and questions that will be asked of them.
“We would also appreciate it if students who have previously taken these test and scored extremely well on them helped out as well; these students will be given community service hours for their time.
“We would greatly appreciate it if you all decide to help us out. Currently, we have teachers from Alcovy High School helping, but we are in need of teachers and students from both Newton and Eastside high schools.
“If you need to contact us, you can e-mail us at OperationSAG@ yahoo.com or write us at operationSAG.blogspot.com. More information will be provided as the project progresses. Thank you all in advance for your support. Sherita Gregory, Jasmine Simpson, Tyler Ransom.”