Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 8, 2012

Brooks County developing future leaders

QUITMAN — Twenty-four juniors and seniors from Brooks County High School hosted a plant sale on the Brooks County Courthouse lawn on Thursday to raise funds for the leadership program they have been participating in all week.

The Brooks County Leadership Camp, sponsored by Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, is a week- long intensive program that promotes youth leadership and teamwork. BCHS was able to participate in the program due to the receipt of a School Improvement Grant (SIG) that totaled over $4 million.

“Brooks County has been making progress every year so they invited them to apply for the grant,” said Sheila Bullington, co-director for SIG in Brooks County.

SIG is a highly competitive grant that very few schools were awarded. The money that Brooks County received went to several beneficial aspects of education including the leadership camp, which is as competitive as the grant itself.

“It’s very rewarding,” said April Lamon, Director of Economic Development for Wiregrass.

Over 100 BCHS students were nominated to participate in the leadership program and only 24 were selected. On Monday, the          students began doing activities such as a ropes course, team building exercises and hearing extensive leadership talks. While Wiregrass holds fairly similar camps like this for various schools, the community service aspect is something new that was added from Brooks County.

Students have been refurbishing the landscaping at the Brooks County Courthouse all week. They worked around the front of the courthouse and all around the bed that surrounds the monument. Each of the 24 students also planted a rose bush.

“Just teaching them how to give back,” said Bill Tillman, Director of Economic Development for Wiregrass and Brooks County.

The proceeds from Thursday’s plant sale will funnel back into the program so students can continue to do various community service projects.

The enthusiasm of the student’s participating was clear. They were very thrilled to be playing a part in the betterment of their community and were excited about the skills they were learning as emerging leaders.

“I like doing stuff for the community,” said Jasmine Arnold.

Eleventh grader Shelby Hiers was also enjoying the community service aspect of the program and felt that what she had been learning would greatly benefit her in the future.

“It will help,” said Hiers. “I will know how to work better with different backgrounds of people.”

The Brooks County Leadership Program has not only benefited many young, emerging leaders, but has worked through community service to better Brooks County as a whole.

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