Middle and high school students from Williamsburg County had a unique experience this summer at Claflin University, participating in the inaugural Henry N. Tisdale Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy.
During the academy – which was designed to give students a jump start on college planning and a taste of University life – the students spent time enhancing their critical thinking and reasoning skills while taking part in a variety of career and personal development seminars led by academic, business and industry experts.
Students from Hemingway MB Lee Middle School participated in the first session on June 16-20, and the University hosted students from Hemingway High School on June 23-27. The academy is named for Claflin's eighth and current president, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, a Kingstree native.
By providing programs and services for students that offer academic opportunities and aid in their efforts to complete high school, earn a college degree, attain meaningful employment or pursue graduate studies, the HNT Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy hopes to help the next generation of global leaders with visionary perspectives reach their full potential. Seminars were presented on such topics as financial literacy, spirituality, community service, time management, wellness, etiquette, teamwork, bullying, career exploration, peer pressure and more.
Dr. Verlie Tisdale, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, led a seminar on time management. She told the nearly two dozen students gathered in Ministers’ Hall that they will be pulled in many different directions while at college.
“You have to prioritize your time,” she said. “Always know what is important.”
Today’s students face even more distractions and strains on their time with smart phones, texting and social media.
When you constantly check text messages and Facebook, “You are allowing that person to infringe on your time,” Tisdale told the teens. “Don’t let someone else take possession of your time.”
Procrastination, she said, is another trap that students should be careful not to fall into.
“Don’t wait until the last minute,” she said. “Be attentive, participate and interact. … And be flexible – plan for the unexpected. Make plans so that you can have time to get things done.”
Tisdale said students shouldn’t be afraid of what others may think of them if they need help mastering a certain topic or subject.
“You’ve got to be true to yourself,” she said. “Worry about you, and be your best you. … Nothing beats a failure but a try.”
Quailia Flegler, a 15-year-old rising sophomore at Hemingway High, said she’s enjoying her time at Claflin and the skills she’s learning.
“I enjoyed the managing money session,” she said. “I want to go into finance in college.” Flegler said her career goal is to be an entrepreneur and have a temp agency.
For Flegler and 17-year-old Ty’Juan McCrea, a rising junior at Hemingway High, attending the HNT Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy was their first time on the Claflin University campus.
“I wanted to come get a good experience of college life,” McCrea said. “I think it’s a pretty good campus. I like the environment and area.”
McCrea said he also enjoyed learning how to budget his money – and his time. “You can use them both together,” he said of the skills.
Carolyn Snell, assistant to the vice president for student development and services and director of career development at Claflin, said the University family and Orangeburg community were instrumental in making this first HNT Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy a success.
“This is an excellent opportunity for middle and high school students to experience life on a college campus before embarking on their higher education journey,” she said.