“FLORENCE, S.C. – More than 20 high school students from Florence County spent the last year gaining leadership skills and an increased awareness of the community through the Junior Leadership Florence County 4-H Program.
A commencement ceremony was held Thursday afternoon at the Francis Marion University Frank B. Lee Nursing Building. Students received certificates for their participation in the leadership program.
Over the course of the school year, the students attended monthly sessions that focused on leadership skills, successful team work, health care, community awareness, business and industry, agriculture, natural resources, history, art and education, according to the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.
“I feel blessed to have had the experience of meeting new people and being exposed to new environments,” said Junior Leadership Florence County participant Jordan Snipes. “This exciting 4-H leadership opportunity has brought together high school sophomores and juniors from 10 public and private schools from across Florence County.”
Snipes, a sophomore at Florence Christian School, said that although the group of participants was diverse, they formed a great team and look forward to making a difference in their communities.
Francis Marion University President Fred Carter gave the keynote address at Thursday’s ceremony. He offered five tips to the students for their future: Use the Junior Leadership Florence County experience to broaden their perspective, seize opportunities, develop a network, cultivate and sustain new friendships and read.
“The network that you develop here, and the network that you’ll carry with you into your college years will be critically important to you,” Carter said. “You don’t know how important that is now, but you’ll come to understand in your 20s, and 30s and 40s that the networks that you establish now will sustain the perspectives that you maintain throughout the rest of your life.”
Grayson Jeffords, a student at Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School, said it was very interesting to get to grow and meet people from other schools that she would not normally meet.
“And it (the leadership program) made me raise my awareness of Florence County and just see all of the job opportunities that are available,” Jeffords said.
Erin Lassiter, also a Trinity-Byrnes student, said she loved the experience.
“I thought it was a great experience to get to know more about Florence and just get to meet a lot of new people,” Lassiter said. “We traveled around Florence County and got different aspects of what our community needed and what it was made of.”
The presenting sponsors for this year’s program were Clemson Cooperative Extension, the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and Francis Marion University.”