Student-Athletes Inspire Future Leaders
Release: 02/19/2008

Feb. 19, 2008



Members of the Carolina Leadership Academy's Rising Stars program put their training to use recently by planning and executing a leadership summit for local middle school students. The Tar Heels welcomed students from Smith and McDougle middle schools to Kenan Field House for a Saturday morning of discussions and activities designed to develop leadership skills.


"Our Carolina Leadership Academy leaders did a fantastic job in planning, organizing, marketing, and conducting the Student Leadership Summit from start to finish," said Jeff Janssen, Lead Instructor and Co-Director of the CLA. "The Summit was a great opportunity for our leaders to reach out to the community to inspire and develop the area's next generation of leaders."


Sessions covered three main topics: Building confidence and composure, developing character and commitment, and becoming a vocal and exemplary leader. The UNC student-athletes used techniques ranging from the "human knot" exercise, in which a group has to work together to untangle its clasped hands, to PowerPoint discussions.

"We thought it was a great success," said sophomore Sam Pompei, a member of the Tar Heel track and field team and one of the event's organizers. "The kids showed up with smiling faces and they left with smiling faces and more information, hopefully, on what it takes to be a leader and how to lead their own classes now and how to lead in the future, not only on the athletic field but also in the classroom."


In addition to Pompei, Carolina Leadership Academy participants who were active in planning the summit include Kate Howard (track & field), Bill Dworsky (soccer), Megan Owens (volleyball), Christine Vaughen (volleyball), Lauren Prussing (volleyball), Caitlin Young (women's lacrosse), Kristen Carr (women's lacrosse), Jocelyn Brault (women's lacrosse), Caroline Boneparth (women's soccer), Lindsay McIlvain (swimming & diving), Emily Schultz (rowing), Paige Wall (rowing), Andi Drabot (rowing), JoAnne Rogers (rowing) and Riana Lynn (track & field).


The Rising Stars program encompasses a select group of "high potential" sophomores and juniors, providing them with insights, strategies and skills necessary to become effective leaders.


"In addition to helping the eighth graders who participated in the program, the CLA leaders benefited greatly because they learned the material at a much deeper level by having to teach it to others," Janssen said. "The leaders also gained real-world experience by taking on various leadership roles in planning and conducting the event that will serve them well in their future professional endeavors, not to mention look great on their resumes.


"We are very proud of the work done by our CLA leaders and pleased with the inaugural Summit, so much so that we plan to offer more in future years."

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