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Martin Luther King Youth Leadership Program engages teens

On Monday, a Youth Leadership Program for high school students was held in the Union sponsored by Carolina R.O.C.T.S. This year's theme was "Revitalizing the Dream: The time is always right to do what is right." Cameron Heath (in stripes), a sophomore in high school, talks about values that are important to him with other students. "I've learned that you can share similar community values with other people."

A discussion about leadership started with a simple question: What’s your favorite mythical creature or animal?

About 20 students from local high schools answered basic questions as a way to view the role of values in leadership in the Student Union Monday as part of the Martin Luther King Youth Leadership Program.

Kate Kryder, assistant director of Carolina Leadership Development, who led the discussion, said she wanted the students to learn the importance of values in good leadership.

One student replied that the werewolf Jacob from the book series Twilight was her favorite mythical creature.

But as the conversation progressed, the group focused on more serious topics.

One student admitted that it’s hard for her to always do what is right because she feels that her peers judge her.

Another said some people are afraid of being called a “goody two-shoes.”

In the middle of the presentation, Kryder had students break off into small groups and talk about what values were most important.

“Think about the people who you all talked about,” she said.

“They talked about their values, and look at what they inspired.”

Before the event, Michaela Mckie, a freshman at Hillside New Tech High School, said she admired Martin Luther King Jr.

“He just changed a whole country. Without him, who knows where we’d be?” she said.

UNC student organization Rejuvenating Our Community Through Service sponsored the event.

Junior Chanel Porter, member and co-coordinator of the program, said there’s more to remembering King than just having a day off. She said people should continue his teachings through community service.

“Normally, MLK Day is seen as just a day to remember and reflect, but the unique thing about this day is that you’re putting into action all the things that he worked for,” Porter said.

“It’s a chance to make impact in our communities.”

Chelsea Madison, a senior at Hillside New Tech High School, said she looked up to King.

“To me he was someone who everyone should aspire to be like,” Madison said.

“He had a dream and he went after it. The youth should try to be like him.”

D.j. Duncan, the other co-coordinator of the event and a junior sports administration major, said the event is a chance to give back to younger kids.

“It all just related to MLK Day and how to carry on his dreams.”

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