Three local students once again attended a prestigious leadership conference over the summer.
Student Leadership University (SLU) is a faith-based, experiential leadership training program that empowers, enables and equips students to rise to the call of leadership and awaken their potential to step forth in this world to lead like Jesus, according to organizers.
SLU was founded by Dr. Jay Strack in 1996. Based out of Orlando, Florida, the program offers four levels of training, beginning with 101 which takes place in Orlando. After completing this level the student moves to the next tier, which is 201 in Washington D.C., 301 takes place abroad in London and Normandy and 401 has typically been held in the Holy Land.
This year Olivia Robertson, a junior at J. Frank White Academy, Rachel Graves, a sophomore at Cumberland Gap High School and Corey Lawson, a junior at CGHS, attended SLU 201.
During the D.C. component this year, the focus was on learning leadership thru the legacy of our Founding Fathers and discovering what the student’s role is in the future leadership of this country.
“We heard from several speakers who have held top roles in today’s government and successful businesses,” said Cindi Robertson, a chaperone for the trip. “The kids also had the privilege to visit all of our national monuments, several of the Smithsonian Museums and one of the most profound moments was the tour of the Holocaust Museum. One highlight of the trip was having dinner at the National Press Club.”
“SLU 201 was a great experience. My favorite part was listening to leaders of our nation speaking about how they use their positions to boldly stand for Christ in today’s government,” Olivia Robertson said. “That our nation was found on Christian principles and how it is our generations responsibility to keep it heading in that direction.”
Olivia, the daughter of Adam and Cindi Robertson of Speedwell, was also chosen this year to be an SLU Ambassador. The Ambassadors are an exclusive street team dedicated to helping peers change the way they think, dream and lead by sharing their own SLU story, which she said is a terrific opportunity.
“This trip to SLU 201 in Washington was very encouraging to help all who attended, to stay on the path of being a good, strong leader,” said Lawson, the son of Avery and Amanda Lawson of Harrogate. “Student Leadership University has taught me many responsibilities and has helped me tremendously to grow as a strong leader, also while being a strong encourager to the incoming leaders. We were able to hear from many amazing speakers and leaders while attending this trip, such as Brent Crowe, Colonel Kim Poole, Barry C. Black, Jay Strack and more. These are each great leaders and they spoke many great words of encouragement to continue our calling of being a strong leader.”
Lawson continued, “Meanwhile this was also my first trip to Washington; I was very excited and astonished by all the awesome monuments and memorials that we were able to visit and experience. I would encourage everyone to take part in SLU and join the group in becoming a strong and courageous leader.”
“Zig Ziglar once said that ‘It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one’,” Lawson said.
Graves, the daughter of Dewayne and Shannon Graves of Speedwell, relished her experience during the second year of SLU as well.
“This past year, SLU has taught me the importance of service in leading. They have reinstilled in me the true meaning of being a citizen of the United States and what it has cost our service men and women for me to live free in this great nation,” she said.
Graves was one of ten students who won an essay contest during this year’s component. She was chosen to help place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery.
Next year, the students will be heading to SLU 301 during the summer to Paris, Normandy and London.
If you are interested in more information regarding Student Leadership University please contact Adam Robertson at Commercial Bank at 423-869-5151.
Reach Marisa Anders at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @newsgirl88.