05/06/04 — Students learn about the county through chamber's youth leadership class

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Students learn about the county through chamber's youth leadership class

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 6, 2004 2:00 PM

Twenty Wayne County high school students banded together last fall for one purpose -- a chance to ditch school.

Their reasons for joining the Junior Leadership program weren't altogether altruistic, some class members admitted at their graduation Tuesday night at Wayne Community College.

Ashelyn James, a junior at Goldsboro High, said she liked the program's prestige but added, "I wanted to be able to skip a day of school per month. Pretty shallow, huh?"

But she quickly found out that she would still be getting an education. Over the past several months, Junior Leadership took the teens through factories and farms, college classrooms and the county jail, health care offices and historic places.

One thing Miss James learned is that a Mount Olive company, IMPulse NC Inc., keeps transit systems running smoothly in places like New York and Chicago, she said. "Now I know I can talk with pride when I tell my city friends that I come from Wayne County."

The class members were also expected to do 10 hours of community service, added Jeremy Crouthamel.

That may not seem like a lot, but to a teen, that's 600 minutes of cell phone minutes, he joked.

Class members did such volunteer work as assisting with Meals on Wheels, painting backdrops for a local drama group, raising money for Relay for Life, timing races at Family Y swim meets, picking up trash along roadsides, and helping at Teen Court.

The teens enjoyed helping others, Crouthamel said. "Community service leaves behind marks that we'll never know."

The Junior Leadership program was founded by the adult Leadership Wayne County Class of 1999, which continues to co-sponsor it with the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.

Sudie Davis of Communities in Schools coordinates the program. Many alumni of the adult leadership program help by planning and coordinating the day trips.

The Class of 2004 were Dustin Gurley and Anem Waheed, C.B. Aycock High; Karen Benton, Chris Campbell, Jessica McCullen, Danielle Roseborough, Michael Warren and Dianna Weeks, Eastern Wayne High; Brantley Barrett, Ashelyn James and Nadia Rhodes, Goldsboro High; Jason Scarborough, Rosewood High; Allison Preston and Jenny Westbrook, Southern Wayne High; Jessica Holloman, Spring Creek High; Chelsea Anderson and Jeremy Crouthamel, Wayne Christian; Brandy Phipps, Wayne Country Day; and Gina Ponzi and David Sullivan, both home-schooled students.