Published on February 3rd, 2018 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


District Five launches Building Bridges Leadership Institute for high school students

IRMO – Sixteen students were inducted into the inaugural class of the District Five Building Bridges Leadership Institute recently. Currently sponsored by the District Five Foundation and Colonial Life, the Building Bridges Leadership Institute was created by a group of visionary educators and elected officials to grow leadership skills in high school students.

District Five Foundation Vice President Dr. Mary Kennerly said, “The hope is to encourage the development of young leaders who are willing to embrace the fact that Americans are different in many ways –we are a very diverse society and that can be seen as beneficial and not detrimental. Hopefully these students will gain awareness of these differences, especially within our own district and in our own state, and they can learn how to communicate with, work productively with, respect and understand the needs of people who are different and live in different circumstances.”

Four students from each high school in either 10th or 11th grade were chosen based on their current involvement in leadership roles or those who aren’t, but show leadership potential.

Representing Chapin High are: McCuen Bland, Logan Callais, Gresham Gunter and Anna Hurley. Representing Dutch Fork High are: Lovis Cooper, Jr., Diamond Housey, Rachel Jackson and Jadon Stanek. Representing Spring Hill High are: Leah Doty, Reid Taylor, Brady Wolfe and Annie Wu. Representing Irmo High School are: Cambridge Dantzler, Kesha Patel, Tashaun Perales and Victoriana Smith.

The Building Bridges Leadership Institute focuses on opportunities for understanding the role of service, civics education, and reaching beyond ordinary expectations as students from diverse backgrounds in our schools and community work together to increase knowledge of compromise, understanding and service for all. The overall goal is for students to gain a better understanding and knowledge of how to pursue leadership opportunities in a respectful, responsible, and effective manner.

“In District Five, we encourage all our students to be leaders and strive to impact the world they live in,” said Program Director John Goodale. “We’re proud of the students that were selected for the Building Bridges Leadership Institute and the teacher representatives who share in their success. We look forward to all the opportunities they will have to grow and show their leadership skills with others.”

Through planned activities after school and over holidays, students will take part in community leadership forums and visit local corporations and organizations like Colonial Life and the S.C. State Supreme Court to observe leadership in action. The one semester program concludes with a week-long trip to Washington, D.C. over the summer.

“Colonial Life’s approach to investing in community organizations is to go beyond just writing the check. We like to be involved with the programs we support by engaging our employees in sharing their time and talents with others. This partnership allows us to do just that. Our vision is to connect directly with the program participants through field studies at Colonial Life’s headquarters in Columbia, S.C. for the students to learn from our leaders and observe leadership in action” said Marie McGehee, Colonial Life Community Relations Manager.

The District Five Building Bridges Leadership Institute is still trying to reach their financial goal to fully fund the program. Business and community members who would like contribute or provide leadership opportunities can email Dr. Mary Kennerly ( Donations can be made to the District Five Foundation ( noted for the Building Bridges Leadership Institute.


About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × 5 =

Back to Top ↑

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!