Sharpe learns valuable lessons

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2018

After working hard to raise the money, Christopher Sharpe completed a five-day leadership program in Washington, D.C in July.

Christopher, 15, worked with his parents to raise $2,450 for the trip, and, for him, the experience was worth every penny.

“The trip made me go out and speak to people more and become a better leader. It taught me how to listen, and instead of being shy I’m going out and talking to more people,” Christopher said.

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Being forced into a social setting helped Christopher break out of his shell, and he is happy with his own progress. Though he is a bit more extroverted now he still gets nervous when speaking to large crowds.

“I’m still nervous when I speak publicly in front of people, but now I’ll go out and do it,” Christopher said. “I won’t get scared to get up and do it.”

He got the chance to engage with other students while he was working in groups to problem solve.

“My favorite activity was the presidential campaign. We had to become a candidate and beat the other candidates,” Christopher said. “The activity took about three hours and we had a problem to solve. We had to work together, and as it was going on other things would pop up. It was making us think.”

Christopher wanted to attend the program to strengthen his leadership skills and gain new ones as he prepares for college and his career. A year ago, Christopher told the Suffolk News-Herald that he wanted to possibly attend Hampton University, get a degree in cybersecurity and become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force.

The main goal of a cybersecurity degree hasn’t changed, but he has broadened his horizons when it comes to what military branch he wants to join and where he wants to get his education.

Lately, Christopher has been looking into attending the U.S. Naval Academy, Virginia Tech or a school in Maryland. No matter where he goes he wants to get his degree in cybersecurity and play lacrosse on scholarship.

The experience was vital for his goals, and he recommends that others do the same.

“You’ll definitely make a lot of friends that you’ll talk to for the rest of your life,” Christopher said. “It helps you become better at public speaking, working with others and believing in yourself.”