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Oconaluftee Students Excel in Leadership Training Course with CEAP Staff

In late August, 14 Oconaluftee students were selected to participate in a Leadership Training course offered by Western Carolina University’s College of Education and Allied Professions. Classes were conducted by Amanda Chapman, Director of the Office of Field Experiences and Jenny Stewart, Director of Student Success. OJCCCC’s Academic Manager, Cindi Simmons and Residential Living Manager, Robin McCoy also participated. Leadership Training was a four-day, 32-hour course based on career success standards.
Students learned about Building Foundations for Effective Leadership, Communication and Relationship Building, Leading and Motivating Others and Ethical Leadership and Decision Making. Jenny Stewart commented, “It was an honor to get to work with OJCCCC in this capacity. Clearly, they are preparing leaders for the future. It was important to us to provide learning opportunities that were immediately relevant to the students. We wanted this training to be something they could take back into their lives and use.”
Forestry Student, Hannah Green, found Leadership Training to be an unexpectedly enriching experience. “I was unaware that there are so many different types of leadership styles. An effective leader analyzes different situations and knows when to offer support and to apply pressure.” Participants were provided fidget toys. While Green found this odd at first, she believes that, “Doing something with your hands made it easier to listen to different points of view.” Overall, Green feels that she, “learned to take a step back, that my opinion isn’t always the most important thing, and that listening is a valuable leadership skill.”
WCU’s Jenny Stewart added, “It was amazing to see them step even further into their current leadership roles and take on new ones. We were so proud of their growth.” OJCCCC’s Student Government President, Chase Hiatt, pointed out, “It helped me realize that self-awareness is important. You can’t begin to lead others if you are unwilling to reflect on your own mistakes. You have to be willing to change yourself. True leadership requires you to balance ego and humility. Leadership training applies to leading a better life in general.”
OJCCCC Residential Manger, Robin McCoy, is excited about Leadership for Oconaluftee's students, "Training sessions will be conducted quarterly. Groups will be comprised of prospective leaders and those nearing graduation. We want to make sure that all students attend before program completion. I really want to thank WCU for making this happen. It was an incredible experience." All students receive a certificate of completion from WCU. The next Student Leadership Training is scheduled for Nov. 27 & 29 and Dec. 4 & 6.

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