JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Thirty-two students from four local high schools gathered Friday, March 15, at City Hall when their classmates had the day off from school. But these particular students belong to the inaugural Student Leadership Johns Creek program, so they didn’t mind putting in the extra hours to learn how business and government act as components of a community.
It was instructive to note that when one businesswoman asked the class how many knew what kind of career they wanted that nearly every hand flew up immediately.
These sophomore and junior students from Centennial, Johns Creek, Chattahoochee and Northview high schools have agreed to do a lot of extracurricular work as part of a two-year program in which they will learn how their community is a structure of its core organizations – business, government, homeowners, civic groups, religious institutions and nonprofit organizations.
The program is an outgrowth of Leadership Johns Creek in which members of the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce commit to a year of leadership team-building and agree to take on community projects as well.
Student Leadership JC was founded by Ron Jones and Cindy Eade to identify emerging leaders who live here to help them reach their full potential.
“The students are introduced to a core of instruction designed to develop their leadership skills,” said Eade. “Then, they are given opportunities to meet with business leaders, state and local government officials and nonprofit organizations.”
The students who apply are nominated by their principals and then go through a winnowing process by local business leaders. They have a one-day retreat and meet variously throughout the year for facilitated training.
“Their first year, they learn the basics of community structure and are exposed to leaders in various fields. They learn principles of leadership and how to apply them,” said Jones.
“The second year, they become mentors to the leadership class behind them,” he said.
Each year, the teams from the four high schools also must come up with a community project and execute it in that year.
“The idea is to create leaders who will come back to Johns Creek to make their homes and lift up the community,” Jones said.
Laura Dobbs, the Student Leadership director, said it is a hands-on program where there are lots of opportunities to develop the ancillary skills of leadership such as communication, project management, team-building and goal setting.
“These young people were selected in part because they grasped the value of the leadership program,” said Dobbs. “To agree to a two-year program that requires them to meet on off days and out of school shows the degree of dedication they have.”