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26 November 2007
JSU's Eighth Annual Emerging Leaders Day

By Jennifer Bacchus
News Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Training Tomorrow's Leaders

Imagine a room filled with 200 students, each of them with their eyes forward, trained on the speaker and quiet enough that, were one so inclined, you could hear a pin drop.

Of course, these aren’t your average students.

These are members of the class of 2009 who have been hand-selected by their guidance counselors as leaders.

“All of you are here for a particular reason. Your high school counselor sought you out to be here representing not just yourself, but your high school also,” Andy Green of the JSU admissions office told the students. “All of you hold leadership roles of some sort in your school.”

The select 200 visited the campus of Jacksonville State University on Nov. 9 to learn how to develop their leadership abilities and the pillars of leadership necessary to make a great leader.

“You’ve already realized that, in order to be leaders, you’re going to have to have additional education,” said JSU President William Meehan after asking the teens how many of them planned to go to college after graduation.

“Leaders are the ones that recognize that.”

JSU hosts Emerging Leaders Day each year in recognition of how important it is for schools to grow good student leaders. November 6 marked the eighth year for the event.

This year’s turnout was the second highest in the event’s history.

The highest turnout was two years ago, in 2005, when 217 students attended.

Schools from Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Jackson, Marshall, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega counties as well as five counties in Georgia were asked to send three student representatives for the day.

It isn’t a day of relaxing away from the rigors of class. Students break up into groups and are taken through exercises and seminars where they discuss the traits needed for them to become good leaders and practice those traits through various activities.

Throughout the day, leaders from various areas of student life at JSU as well as the JSU Ambassadors give the students information on character, courage, taking initiative, having a positive attitude, communicating clearly, listening, being committed and responsibility.

“Leadership today is much more important now than ever,” said Dr. Tim King, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at JSU.

“It’s becoming so much more competitive in the college world. You need a degree to be a leader and you need a degree also to be competitive.”

As the event draws to a close, their arms are filled with t-shirts and information on JSU.

One lucky student, however, walks away with more – a year’s scholarship to JSU.

This year, Breezy Edwards of Ohatchee won the scholarship, which will pay full tuition for her freshman year if she decides to attend JSU.

About Jennifer Bachus

Jennifer Bacchus is a staff writer at The Jacksonville News. She can be reached at 256-435-5021 or via e-mail at

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