JYMS student raises money for program

Published 9:01 pm Friday, November 24, 2017

A John Yeates Middle School eighth-grader is raising money to help him experience a conference that will make him a better leader.

Christopher Sharpe, son of Donta and Doreen Sharpe, was selected for the Junior National Young Leaders Conference next summer in Washington, D.C. He was nominated by his teacher, Chantelle Luwani-Pierce.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Christopher Sharpe said. He anticipates that the conference will help him overcome his shyness, step out of his comfort zone and help him improve at public speaking.

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All of those skills will serve him well in any career field, but Christopher has already made his decision. He hopes to attend college, perhaps Hampton University, and study cybersecurity.


“It has what I want to do,” said Christopher, referring to Hampton and his chosen major.

After that, his goal is to be commissioned as an officer into the U.S. Air Force.

Christopher is making strides toward this goal already. He is a member of the Civil Air Patrol, where he is a leader for other youth members. The Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the Air Force.

He also made a foray into public speaking at the Nov. 15 City Council meeting, where he requested the support of the community.

As part of the conference next summer, Christopher will get to experience leadership focus groups, hear from special speakers and conduct field study experiences at District landmarks. He will also have a Capitol Hill experience, where he could get to visit the floor of the House of Representatives, depending on the schedule, or have some other exposure to the federal government’s inner workings.

“It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Christopher’s father, Donta Sharpe, echoing his son’s words.

The program costs $2,450, and the Sharpes don’t have very long to come up with the money. The enrollment deadline is Dec. 15. They have set up a GoFundMe page to take donations.

“Any help would be appreciated, and then we’ll cover the back end,” Donta Sharpe said. “We’re not going to let him miss out on something like this.”

Visit Sharpe’s GoFundMe page here.