Area High School Students take WCU Leadership Course

William Carey University gave area high school students a unique opportunity to obtain leadership skills through a hands-on, college-credit course during J-Term. Taught by Hattiesburg residents Lt. Col. Fred Varnado and his wife, Col. Sheila Varnado, 20 high school juniors and seniors from Hattiesburg High School and Presbyterian Christian High School met January 2-6 to expand their goal-setting and team building skills and meet with area community leaders. The students visited the African-American Military History Museum in downtown Hattiesburg, met with Mayor Johnny Dupree and participated in group problem solving projects.

The Varnados, both of whom are retired from the military, shared leadership skills they acquired from over 30 years of military and professional careers. Currently, Sheila serves as the executive director of the R3SM in Hattiesburg and is president of the African-American Military History Museum Committee. Fred is director of the Office of Professional Development and Educational Outreach at The University of Southern Mississippi and serves on numerous local boards. In 2007 he was selected as the City of Hattiesburg Veteran of the Year.
The class is part of WCU’s Step-Ahead Program for high school students to obtain college credit. Qualified students must have at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average to participate.
Participants in the high school leadership course “Leading from the Front,” a week-long course for area students at WCU, pose for a photo at the African-American Military History Museum on January 4. Pictured are (left to right) Lt. Col. Fred Varnado, co-instructor; Benjamin Waddle, Hattiesburg High School (HHS); Chloe Paige, HHS; Caleb Faulkner, HHS; Catyria “Lucy” Smith, HHS; Brittny Miller, HHS; Lauren Arnold, Presbyterian Christian School (PCS); Hayden Chapman, HHS; April Fokakis, PCS; Austin Bomhold, HHS; Col. Sheila Varnado, co-instructor; Heather Beiring, PCS; Shelby Deese, PCS; Katherine White, PCS; Owie Beiring, PCS; Mertis Washington, HHS; William “Chase” Young, PCS; Garner Robinson, PCS; Gabrielle Munn, PCS; and Mayor Johnny Dupree.