A positive program

Published 9:52 pm Thursday, September 19, 2019

It’s one thing to teach concrete skills like math and science concepts and immutable facts like historic events and how words are spelled.

It’s quite another thing to teach the “soft skills” like leadership, but a well-rounded, 21st-century education demands that students be capable of these soft skills as well when they graduate high school and arrive in a college classroom, at their first day on the job or at boot camp.

The schools can try their best to teach these soft skills, and students who participate in special programs or extracurricular activities have extra opportunities to practice these skills. But we all do better when we have excellent partners on our side, and Suffolk Public Schools is fortunate to have a partner in a leadership program under way at Lakeland High School.


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The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy is in its second year at the school and aims to expand its impact on the 30 students from all grade levels who are participating.

The program is getting financial assistance from the company’s corporate headquarters, its North Main Street store in Suffolk and from Coca-Cola. Two history teachers, Albert White and Rudolph Edwards, are mentoring students in the program, and the eatery is providing lunch once per month as well as materials for the program.

Students will be conducting activities they choose themselves that will help them develop their leadership skills, with the assistance of their mentors and Chick-fil-A employees. White and Edwards said they have already seen a positive shift due to the program.

We extend our appreciation to the mentors, school officials, Chick-fil-A employees and restaurant executives who are investing in our young people through this program. We can’t wait to see what comes next.