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Drake State and Calhoun Host 12th Annual Student Leadership Institute


On July 11 and 12, Huntsville will welcome more than 450 Alabama community college student leaders, as well as sponsors and deans of student services for the 12th Annual Student Leadership Institute (SLI). This gathering, sponsored by the Alabama Deans of Student Affairs Association (ADSAA), will provide student leaders with networking opportunities and insights needed to develop outstanding student leadership skills. The Institute will be hosted by Calhoun Community College and J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, and will be held at The Westin Huntsville in the Bridge Street Town Centre.


Dr. Kermit Carter, Dean of Student Affairs for Calhoun, and Dr. Nicole Barnett, Drake State’s Student Services Management Director, serve as co-chairpersons of the Institute, which this year boasts a record attendance level of 451 registered attendees. “We are thrilled that so many students from as far as Mobile saw value in coming to Huntsville to be part of this inspiring and skill-building conference. The goal of this event, at its core, is to prepare these students for the demands of the roles that they will carry out this fall when they return to our state’s community colleges as exceptional models of leadership and action through service,” said Dr. Barnett. She added that the increased enrollment and sponsor support is a perfect example to the students of what neighboring institutions can achieve when they work together toward a common goal. “Drake State and Calhoun’s joint efforts exemplify team work at its best.”


Participants from 25 community colleges will be greeted by the Presidents of Calhoun and Drake State, as well as Dignitaries from the City and State. The Chancellor for the Alabama Community College System, Dr. Mark Heinrich, and Michelle Jordan, Economic Development Director for the City of Huntsville, will offer special remarks to the students during the SLI’s Opening Session. “Having both our educational and City leaders address our students during this conference reinforces the message that they too see great significance in encouraging students to take part in events such as this, which foster leadership training opportunities at the earliest stages of adulthood, and provide us with a unique opportunity to showcase our dynamic ‘Rocket City,’” said Dr. Carter. The second day of the event will feature Special Remarks by Ms. Mary Scott Hunter, Alabama State Board of Education Member, District 8.


Of special note is this year’s Community Service Project which has special ties to Madison County. Free 2 Teach, which operates a volunteer-run free store to support public education in Madison County's three school systems, will be accepting school supply donations during the Institute. Each year, most teachers spend between $500 and $1000 of their own money to purchase supplies for their classrooms. The non-profit’s goal is for 3,500 teachers representing the 84 public schools in the Huntsville, Madison and Madison County school systems to "shop" for free items to make sure more than 50,000 students in our community have adequate classroom materials. SLI participants were encouraged to bring donations from their respective communities to support the local effort led by Mrs. Eula Battle, who will also acknowledge the students during the Opening Session.


The Institute will kick off with Keynote Speaker Keith L. Brown, named a “world class speaker” and one of the top speakers and consultants in education as noted by “Insight Publishing.” His effectiveness in training leaders in team building, effective communication, and professionalism has garnered him outstanding reviews in previous year’s conferences and the title of “Motivator of the Millennium.” Mr. Brown’s keynote theme “Not impossible, but I’M POSSIBLE” will set the tone for the Institute and its sessions, all of which will be facilitated by his team.

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