PREBLE COUNTY – Grit. Passion. Perseverance.
Eighteen Preble County students are getting the opportunity to learn more about themselves, their community, and what they can offer the world thanks to the brand-new Junior Leadership Preble County program.
The program, which kicked off with its first session on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, gives participants the chance to find out what it means to have grit, what their passion is, and learn where they can go if they persevere. This year’s theme, “Life is an Amazing Race,” embodies the curriculum which will take the students through learning experiences a normal day at school will not normally provide, according to organizers.
Junior Leadership Preble County is a non-profit program of the Preble County Chamber of Commerce, modeled after the Leadership Preble County program. The program provides monthly leadership and community exposure to high school juniors and seniors from all five schools in Preble County, as well as local students from Miami Valley Career Technology Center.
“Leadership Preble County is in its fourth year, and it was past time to get the Junior Leadership program off the ground,” PC Chamber Executive Director Leslie Collins said. “With the hard work of an extremely dedicated steering committee, we’ve formulated a curriculum that is all our own, combining the civic portions of the adult Leadership Preble County program with programming aimed at helping the participants find their own passion, and perhaps, lead them to finding their future is right here in Preble County.”
“We hope the program will increase the students’ self-confidence by providing opportunities to practice and use leadership skills, broaden and deepen the students’ connection to community, and plant the seeds of service by encouraging students to serve others in their schools and communities,” Collins added.
The Junior Leadership Preble County curriculum runs concurrent with the academic school year and includes four full days of programming. Through community-based experiences, participants become familiar with current issues, community and natural resources, and other factors influencing Preble County’s future. The student cohort will be required to work alongside a team of their peers to create a final project focused on “Managing & Morphing the Preble County Brand,” which each team will present at a graduation program slated for April 27.
Free to the students, the Junior Leadership Preble County program is currently provided through the Leadership Preble County funding of Kettering Health & the Grandview Foundation, Preble County Development Partnership and Indiana University East.
A leadership book, “Grit,” by Dr. Angela Duckworth, is integrated into the curriculum and students discussed their assigned readings to close the Dec. 13 kick-off session.
The first session, held at the Preble County Historical Society, was entitled “Starting the Race,” and began with “getting to know you” activities led by IU East’s academic support team and several IU East students. The session included completion of the True Colors personality test, a discussion on “What is your passion?” and a Preble County history lesson by PCHS Executive Director Misti Spillman. Students also participated in an etiquette lunch, where they received a lesson in the importance of etiquette and how to handle oneself during a formal meal situation.
The students’ next Junior Leadership Preble County session, entitled “Grit,” is this Friday, Jan. 10, and is being hosted at Henny Penny.
Members of the inaugural Junior LPC cohort are Christopher Farr, Annabel Ferguson, Matthew O’Dell, Jared Dunn, Brooke Dalton, Jacob Doty, Colton Toms, Abbey Rodefer, Alyssa Zdobinski, Madeline Ebright, Makenzi Cooper, Erika Wilkinson, Sydney Bezich, Liberty Chesney, MacKenzie Neal, Tyler Stevenson, Maggie Johnson and Spencer Hunt.
Along with Collins, the LPC Steering Committee includes Preble County Career Connections Director Harold Niehaus, OSU Extension Educator Christy Millhouse, Preble County Development Partnership Economic Development Director Brenda Latanza, PCDP Assistant Aubrey Stevenson, Eaton Fire & EMS Chief Brian Smith, Opti-Vise IT’s Kelly McQueen, Lewisburg Village Administrator Jeff Sewert, Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech, IU East Vice-Chancellor Jason Troutwine and LNCB Regional Manager Lori Pheanis. Latanza, Smith, McQueen, Sewert, Creech and Pheanis are all graduates of the adult Leadership Preble County program.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH.