Teens Learn Leadership in Four-Star Program

by Mark Schlachtenhaufen

Source: The Edmond Sun
EDMOND — Alexa White, of Newark, N.J., and Heath Rosenberger, of Broken Arrow, were two of the high school students participating in a unique program capped by Thursday night’s final debate at Oklahoma Christian University.

White said she got to hear how different leaders have different perspectives, that she learned how to interact with people who have influence in society and she got to hear from leaders including the king of Jordan, an Olympic gold medal winner and retired Gen. Tommy Franks.

Rosenberger said he will go home and apply the communication, leadership and conflict management skills he acquired during the program. He said he also honed his debating skills but mainly developed his leadership skills.

“I didn’t expect to gain as much as I did,” he said. “I really enjoyed it.”

They were two of the high school students who will be juniors and seniors in the fall of 2011 attending the Four Star Debate: Developing Leaders with General Tommy Franks. Some participants were from the Middle East.

In its fourth year, the program is hosted by the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute, in Hobart, the National Center for Policy Analysis and the Academy of Leadership & Liberty at Oklahoma Christian University.

Franks said it had been a productive week. He praised the participation of leaders like Gov. Mary Fallin, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. Franks said role models who influenced his life included his father and a drill sergeant.

The goal of Franks’ institute is to tell compelling stories of leadership, introduce historical topics in each exhibit and to encourage study and debate concerning the leadership traits illustrated by the story.

Participants in the debate program are immersed in the issues permeating the nation’s leaders at the highest levels. This year’s topic dealt with whether the 50 states in America should adopt a system of school choice for private and public primary and secondary schools.

The top debaters will be awarded scholarships to help further their education. The final two teams debated school choice.
Brian Bush, executive director of the Academy of Leadership & Liberty, said the goal of the debate program is to develop future leaders who will be able to solve pressing world problems.

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