Aug. 12—MIDLAND — Midland College hosted the annual Midland Young Leaders Challenge with General Tommy Franks on June 15 and 16.
The two-day leadership development workshop for students entering the 12th grade culminated in an awards ceremony on the evening of June 16 at the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center.
Scholarships were presented to winners of several categories:
>> Op Ed Writing: Lauren Haile, Legacy High School, $1,000 scholarship.
>> First Place Speech: Andres Barbar Molera, Early College High School at Midland College, $2,000 scholarship.
>> Second Place Speech and Star Leader: Sophie Sharum, Trinity Midland High School, $1,000 scholarship for Speech and $3,000 scholarship for Star Leader award.
The workshop and scholarships are made possible by funding from Midland County, Henry Foundation and Warren Charitable Foundation. Each summer Midland College hosts the workshop, based on the Four-Star Leadership principles developed by U.S. Army four-star General (ret) Tommy Franks. Franks is a Midland native who led the attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The Midland workshop is coordinated by staff from Midland ISD and from the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum in Hobart, Okla.
"It is an honor for MC to host the Midland Young Leaders Challenge," MC President, Dr. Steve Thomas said. "Part of Midland College's mission is to focus and improve 'quality of place,' and that is exactly what this program does—provide an opportunity for youth to develop leadership skills in order to serve our community and beyond."
During the workshop, students participate in presentations and discussions with community leaders from education, government and business. The students also participate in a persuasive speech contest, and one student receives the chance to attend the Four-Star Leadership Institute in Oklahoma. Sophie Sharum was this year's Four-Star winner.
"Participating in this program was the best decision I made this summer, as it allowed me to grow in ways that I never believed were possible," Sharum said. "I cannot even begin to share everything I learned through this program, but perhaps what impacted me the most is that I learned true leaders are willing to sacrifice their own comfort for the sake of others. I now have a better understanding of what it means to be a leader, and I will apply this knowledge to benefit my community as best as I can going forward."
During the Four-Star Leadership Institute, Sharum received an additional $2,500 in scholarships, winning Honorable Mention for her workbook and serving on the winning team for the Ethics Bowl. She plans to apply to several colleges, including the The University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, Dartmouth College and Harvard University. She will pursue a degree in Computer Science and hopes to become a software engineer. Sophie is a member of the Trinity varsity volleyball and track teams and enjoys playing the piano, performing in musicals and participating in band and choir.