02 Sep 2014

Academy provided more than leadership

Academy provided more than leadership


There are 34 young males across the State of North Carolina that are ready to propel their leadership skills. This summer, these young leaders of the future participated in the George Williams Leadership Academy sponsored by Duke Energy on the campus of Saint Augustine’s University. The academy was designed to engage young men in various leadership activities and provide a foundation of leadership strategies for being successful inside and outside the classroom.

During the three-week residential academy, young scholars attended workshops and seminars on problem solving, how to be successful in the classroom, reading enrichment activities, life-coaching activities and financial counseling and literacy. They also enjoyed various social and recreational activities. Three highlights of the academy were visits to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC, the North Carolina History Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in the nation’s capital.

During the closing ceremony of the academy, parents of the participants were enlightened by hearing their sons express how the academy shaped them to want to be leaders and touched by the strong bonds that were formed between the young men.

Maxcine Bland, mother of participant Na’Im Bland, a 15-year old and a rising sophomore at Athens High School in Raleigh, knew that the academy truly had an impact on her son by two requests her son made.

“I think the academy was wonderful for my son because of two things,” said Maxcine Bland. “He (Na’Im) called me to tell me that he wanted to make sure that he signs up for a money management class this school year and that he brought a wallet. I have been telling him for a while that he needs a wallet. Since attending this academy, he now understands the importance of managing his money.”

Upon completion of the academy, the leaders of tomorrow were given a $200 stipend.

The academy was named after legendary head track and field coach, George “Pup” Williams, athletic director at Saint Augustine’s University. Williams has built a dynasty in track and field and cross country at the university. Since he began coaching in 1976, his track and field programs have won an astounding 35 national championships including the 2014 and 2013 NCAA Division II Men’s Indoor Championships and the 2014 and 2013 NCAA Division II Men’s Outdoor Championship.