SLA accepting applications

Published 9:22 pm Monday, December 19, 2011

The Suffolk Leadership Academy is looking for new applicants for its 13th session.

The academy, which is coordinated by the Suffolk Leadership Academy Planning Committee and the city of Suffolk, will begin Jan. 17 and end March 13 with the graduation ceremony. Applications are being accepted until Jan. 6.

“It gives them a better understanding of the community in which they live and a better understanding of the people that help that community run,” committee member and SLA graduate Kenda Council said. “It’s meant to give people sort of a taste of things to know about the city where they live. Hopefully, it will pique an interest to look deeper into it.”

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During the course of eight sessions, the SLA class will meet every Tuesday and discuss topics, including the history of Suffolk, local government, economic development and regionalism, tourism, agriculture, education and volunteerism.

Council said each academy session starts with a discussion about leadership.

“It’s a way for them to get to know about their own feelings about leadership and the way others feel about it,” she said.

W. Ross Boone, a former administrator from Paul D. Camp Community College, will lead the classes, but a variety of guest speakers will address the students.

Council said the academy can be useful for a variety of people, regardless of age or profession.

“It has been a good mix,” she said. “Some people who are new to the community will enroll; some are leaders in their industries; some are just looking to learn more.”

Council added one student from each of Suffolk’s high schools attends the academy also.

The cost to attend the Academy is $300 per student, which covers the class, dinner at each session and two field trips — a tour of Suffolk and a visit to Richmond.

Council said some business cover the cost for employees to attend, and other individuals might be able to find a business to sponsor them.

Businesses also can help sponsor students to attend the academy.

Sponsorships are available at the following levels: a gold level sponsorship costs $1,000 and includes two student sponsorships and four tickets to the graduation; a silver level sponsorship costs $500 and includes one student sponsorship and two tickets to the graduation; and a bronze level sponsorship costs $300 and includes one student sponsorship.

Council said if anyone is interested in the academy but is worried about the costs, he or she should contact the SLA Planning Committee to look into partial scholarships.

“We don’t want to be a deterrent for anyone,” Council said.

For more information about applying, contact Kenda Council at 539-8789, ext. 3339, or