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Students learning how to lead, give back

September 26, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - A select group of Washington County students is learning leadership lessons from classic literature.

Vaughn Crowl works with 26 local students through the Student Leadership Program, which was established three years ago by the nonprofit group Leadership Washington County.

Two students from each area high school and 10 students from Hagerstown Community College meet each month.

Crowl, a professor of psychology at HCC, hopes to teach the students a sense of community spirit, and how to make decisions and settle conflicts, he said.

High school students have the opportunity to interact with their peers and adults during the class, said Chelsea Weaver, 17, a senior at South Hagerstown High School.

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The hope is that the students will feel more invested in their community and return to raise their families after they finish their education, said Cindy Kalkbrenner, spokeswoman for Leadership Washington County.

The students meet at HCC every month for discussions. During one class, they will analyze leaders presented in classic literature such as "The Illiad" and films, including "Twelve Angry Men."

During the first class Sept. 14, students identified bad leaders as people who are unreliable and good leaders as people who communicate well, Weaver said.

Activities used to help build teamwork and communication are also scheduled for each month, Crowl said. Students also spend about 40 hours outside the classroom organizing a community service project. The first year, students raised more than $7,000 for families with autistic children, he said.

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