Photo Courtesy of Sarah Joyner +
Youth Leadership of Wake Forest is a program located in Wake Forest, in which high school students all around Wake County compete to participate. Once in the program, they learn tools that will not only help them in college but in life.
“Youth Leadership of Wake Forest is a program through Chambers of Commerce where they select high schoolers from all over through an application and interview process,” Ms. Joyner, Wakefield Career Counselor and advisor of the program said. “It is a very good program that shows students what a leader is and how to create a positive message to their community.”
One of the program’s main goals is to recognize the Wake Forest community.
“The program is for gaining more knowledge about Wake Forest and what our future can be like,” sophomore Taylin Cain said. “Even though I didn’t get in I will apply next year because this program is so great.”
Every student in the program goes through a vigorous application process.
“To apply for the program, you had to complete an application asking questions about yourself and your future,” Cain said. “After that, if you move on to the next level, there is an interview process. From there they decide the select few who will be in the program in the following year.”
Only eight percent of the people who apply to the program get in.
“It is really hard getting into this elite program,” sophomore Anthony Howard said. “When I first applied, I didn’t think I was going to get in at all.”
Because of the high level of competition, many who are accepted react with surprised excitement.
“I was so excited to get into this program and learn about how to be a better leader,” sophomore Skyler Owen said. “I honestly thought because so many people were applying I would never get in, so I was shocked when I was accepted.”
The programs provide many seminars, games and simulations to provide students with leadership experience.
“Each month the students go to different trips that revolve on how to be a successful leader,” Joyner said. “Each month they get closer to becoming the leader they want to be and knowing more about the town of Wake Forest.”
The students who apply to the programs learn the essentials of what it means to be a leader.
“When I first entered Youth Leadership of Wake Forest, I didn’t really think I was a leader,” sophomore Kendra Randall said. “Now I have more confidence in myself and believe I will be a great leader now and in the future.”
The students also learn what it means to be part of a community where they can grow and thrive.
“I didn’t realize how great Wake Forest was until I entered this program,” Howard said. “There are so many great opportunities in Wake Forest and I am very excited to see where that can take me.”
By the end of the year-long program the students gain knowledge that they will use in the outside world.
“In the program I learned to communicate better, speak to large sums of people and be a leader in my community big or small,” Howard said. “I learned to be a better me, know I can be a great leader in the future and make a change in Wake Forest and the world.”