Six hundred and nineteen student delegates from 20 states, a large conference hotel in Washington D.C. and an abundance of National JAG staff, state staff and volunteers, this was the scene for the 2011 JAG Student Leadership Academy the week of November 16th. The academy is three and a half days of leadership and job readiness development for JAG students. The 2011 academy was the largest on record. The delegates from JAG affiliate states earn their trip to the Student Leadership Academy and they must fundraise in their home states prior to the fall conference to offset the cost of their trip.
These students are an amazing group of young people. They have made a decision to be successful against the odds. At the beginning of the week, the delegates are organized into groups of around 35 students. Each group is a representation of multiple states and allows students the opportunity to get to know delegates from all over. The students participate in leadership sessions facilitated by Job Specialists from around the country. The leadership sessions are high energy and the students and Job Specialists form a tight bond. The students are exposed to many things during the week of the academy including; a twilight tour of the monuments, a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, visits to historical sites of the students choosing and shopping at the mall.
The students at the conference are also there to participate in competitive events and are winners of these events in their home states. They come to D.C. to compete for the national title in such events as public speaking and employability skills. This event is student-centered and the students really enjoy meeting peers from other states and the comradery that comes from belonging to the JAG organization. And of course, one of the highlights of the week, the students who won the competitive events at the 2011 JAG Student Leadership Academy:
1st Perry Washington, JAG-Mississippi
2nd Jatarris White, JAG-Mississippi
3rd Ella Sanders, JAG-Tennessee
1st Taylor Huff, JAG-Tennessee
2nd Clifford Haney, JAG-Arkansas
3rd Courtland Brown, JAG-Mississippi
1st Huy Nguyen, JAG-Arkansas
2nd Uriah Taylor, JAG-South Carolina
3rd Nathan Scribner, JAG Arkansas
The academy has been historically well-attended and this year was no different. There were 20 out of the 33 state affiliates present at the 2011 Student Leadership Academy.
District of Columbia 5
New Hampshire 6
New Jersey 11
South Carolina 197
South Dakota 7