High School Leaders Program, Class of 2016
Day 13: Thursday, July 21
Reported by: Chris Hopkins, James W. Robinson Jr. Secondary School, and David Wilbourne, Princess Anne High School
The morning started with alarms an hour later than usual. This blessing was not enough for everyone at the Sorensen High School Leaders Program (HSLP); many young leaders still managed to descend to the lobby rather late. Despite this, none of our classmates were later than our first speaker who unfortunately had a scheduling conflict and was unable to attend. Luckily, we didn’t allow this setback to deter our love for politics. The class gathered in a circle and proceeded to each read a segment of the Declaration of Independence. This wasn’t just an exercise in patriotism; this was done with the intention of improving our speaking and presenting skills.
We then met with the former Charlottesville Chief of Police Timothy Longo. He gave us a rousing speech about the responsibility of police officers to their communities and vice versa. His energetic approach and no-holds barred method of speaking allowed his passionate message to resonate deeply with the young impressionable minds of the HSLP. After Chief Longo finished speaking, we were treated with a meal of baked potatoes and salad, the lunch of champions. Fed to satisfaction, the HSLP returned to the classroom ready to hear from our next guest speakers, Mr. Jeff Britt of McGuire Woods and Mr. Felix Sarfo-Kantanka, the Governor’s deputy secretary of administration. These two fine gentlemen wrapped up our guest speaker sessions for the program.
We returned to Bice House with a bit of sadness from this reminder of the finite nature of our time together; however, this feeling was short lived, because we had work to do. Our culminating project presentations were the next day, so we all put our nose to the grindstone and powered through our last bits and pieces of the project. We were all required to run a practice by Cash and the program managers. Working through the night, we managed to find time for a quick movie and some of our classmates were interviewed by local television about the Pokémon Go craze. Once we hit that submit button for our presentations, it felt as if a weight had come off our shoulders, but we weren’t finished. We still had to give our actual presentations the next morning.