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Emerging Public Leaders Class of 2014-15

The Emerging Public Leaders 2014-15
June 22 - 28, 2014

The Riley Institute at Furman welcomed the 2014-15 Emerging Public Leaders (EPL) to Furman's campus June 22 - 28, 2014 for a week filled with activities and opportunities to learn about public leadership. This year's participants came from various high schools throughout South Carolina and North Carolina.

For the Schedule of Activities, click here.

To read about this program in the  Furman Edge, click here

Welcome the 2014-15 student participants:

Alexis Adams, Scott's Branch High School, Summerton, SC
Jo Baslot, Wilson High School, Florence, SC
Nikhila Cheepurupalli, Spring Valley High School, Columbia, SC
Natrone Davis, Scott's Branch High School, Summerton, SC
Luke De Mott, Mauldin High School, Greenville, SC
Lydia Fink, East Forsyth High School, Kernersville, NC
Mary Beth Grant, Greenwood High School, Greenwood, SC
Westin Hardesty, Travelers Rest High School, Travelers Rest, SC
Brittany Joyce, Hartsville High School, Hartsville, SC
Mani King, St. Joseph's High School, Greenville, SC
Juejie Liu, South Aiken High School, Aiken, SC
Kenny Nguyen, Greenwood Christian, Greenwood, SC
Lucas Paquette, Johnsonville High School, Johnsonville, SC
Susannah Pazdan, Christ Church Episcopal School, Greenville, SC
Tre’ Dessa Smalls, Early College High School, Myrtle Beach, SC
James Wiley, Riverside High School/Fine Arts Center, Greer, SC

EPL 2014-2015 Winners

On Saturday, March 28th, EPL students returned to campus to present their community service projects. After nine months, students had much to talk about and show for their hard work. Student projects were judged on the basis of vision, planning, execution, program impact, presentation skills, and project sustainability. 

Judges consisted of community leaders from the Upstate. They were:

Dr. Chris Burkett
Dr. Marion Martin
Bobbie Rhodes
Jessica Sharp

To learn more about the panel of judges, please click here for their bios and information.

Following presentations, EPL participants and families gathered at a luncheon with the keynote address given by Rev. Michael Bond. Please click here for Reverend Bond’s bio. 

First Place Winners (received $1,000 to continue their programs):

Brittany Joyce, Hartsville High School
Program: Project P.E.R.K. Police Encouraging Responsibility and Kindness
Objective: The program’s objectives are to motivate students to make good decisions, to curb the increase of crime among youth, to encourage police to seek out positive behavior in students, and to foster a relationship of trust between police and youth. 

Selected officers within the City of Hartsville Police Department distributed gift certificates of less than $5.00 in value to students in Thornwell Elementary, Hartsville Middle, and Hartsville High School when they “catch” a student doing a good deed or making a good decision. Local businesses who donated were McDonald’s, Markette, Sonic, Wendy’s, Subway, and members of St. Luke UMC. This program is a collaboration between the City of Hartsville, the Hartsville Police Department, the Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville, local businesses, and residents. The goal of the program is that, as police recognize good behavior and distribute the certificates, they begin to build positive and strong relationships with the children and teens in the community and encourage them to make good decisions. For more information or to make a donation, please contact the Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville. 

Please click here to view Brittany’s presentation.

Lucas Paquette, Johnsonville High School
Program: The Senior Prom
Objective: The program’s objective was to entertain senior citizens in Johnsonville and show them that their community cares about them. The closest form of entertainment for senior citizens in Johnsonville is over an hour away and most senior citizens do not participate due to the distance. The Senior Prom has given the senior citizens and the students in the Johnsonville community a chance to enjoy entertainment and to involve high school students in service projects close to home. On April 4, 2015, with assistance from local businesses, Johnsonville will hold its first Senior Prom at the Periwinkle Pavilion. Johnsonville High School and Prosser Law Firm have graciously provided the venue and decorations.  Additional sponsors include Industrial Contractors, CMA Clearing and Excavating, The Tackle Box, Scotts’ BBQ, Anderson Brothers Bank, Haselden Brothers, and Piggly Wiggly. The Florence County Senior Citizen’s Association has provided the invitations and postage. At press time, 62 senior citizens plan to attend. 

Please click here to view Lucas’ presentation.

Honorable Mention Winners (received $250 to continue their programs):

Tre’ Dessa Smalls, HCS Early College High School, Myrtle Beach
Program: 3Es: Encouragement, Ethnicity & Education
Objective: 3Es is a project geared toward middle school aged African American girls to teach them about self-worth and to let them know that they are more than a statistic. The project was led by Smalls and fellow high school females and featured speakers who were high ranking African American female leaders from Horry and surrounding counties. Topics included goal setting; light skin vs. dark skin debate; mind, body and soul; protecting yourself; being black in America; my right as a woman; our generation: babies having babies; and peer pressure. Local businesses and organizations who supported this program include the Burgess Community Center. Plans are underway to host a 3E summer camp at the Burgess community center in 2015, please contact Smalls at for more information or to register. 

Please click here to view Tre’ Dessa’s presentation.

James Wiley, Riverside High School and Fine Arts Center
Program: 66 Percent, The Documentary
Objective: James was concerned about the statistic showing that only 34% of developmentally/intellectually disabled people are employed. He produced a documentary film explaining the issues faced by young adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities as they look for meaningful work after high school. He said “As a filmmaker, I’m enthused about the genre of documentary film and its capacity to enlighten the audience about problematic issues as well as to showcase solutions. It’s all about awareness and empowerment.” This documentary includes the valuable perspective of a parent, a business owner, and educators. The project was a collaboration with community leaders and business owners who employ people with special needs to inspire other businesses to give the disabled a chance in the workplace. Opportunity Village in Nevada is highlighted as a model of success. The documentary also examined legislative initiatives which encourage the hiring of disabled individuals. Local businesses and organizations which supported this project include Indexx Printing, The Chandler School, and Greenville County School District Administration. James plans to submit 66 Percent to various film festivals to increase awareness of the issue. The film may be viewed on its Facebook page: 66 Percent. It’s also available on YouTube, click here to view.

Please click here to view James’ presentation.

Accomplishments of the 2014-15 EPL Students

For a summary of all the participating student projects, click here.

Brittany Joyce, a senior in Hartsville High School’s International Baccalaureate program, has developed Project PERK, or Police Encouraging Responsibility and Kindness, a program offering gift certificate rewards to students when law enforcement and school resource officers find them making commendable decisions and actions. Read more . . .

Scott’s Branch New Tech Student and EPL participant, Natrone Davis, and Scott’s Branch High School place in the H&R Block Budget Challenge. Manninglive

Johnsonville student throws unique senior prom. Read more about Lucas Paquette's project, or click here for the CarolinaLive article with video. 

To learn about James Wiley's service project, view his video.