HAMPTON, Va. (August 31, 2020) – The Hampton University William R. Harvey Leadership Institute (WRHLI) hosted the 23rd Annual High School Leadership Summit, July 13 to July 17. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s summit was held virtually. This summit is designed for rising high school juniors and seniors to learn skills in order to establish a plan for success after graduation. This year’s theme was “Service and Character.”
“Despite all that is happening in the world today, I still see the light at the end of the tunnel. The bright beam of education that promises better opportunities to all who follow its path. The bright students who attended the first-ever virtual William R. Harvey Leadership Institute High School Leadership Summit were engaged and committed throughout the entire week, despite the virtual platform. They asked the guest speakers thought-provoking, analytical questions, and received the best leadership training there is,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President.
Due to COVID-19, Hampton University has had to come up with new and innovative ways to reach and teach students. This was the WRHLI’s first-ever virtual Summit. “I wanted to ensure the students could experience a residential program virtually and we were successful by maintaining a schedule of events and time hacks that replicated the previous years. The major difference was the room checks and the 1:00 a.m. meetings the Leadership Fellows would have with me after completing their room checks,” said Dr. Jarris Louis Taylor, Jr., Director of the WRHLI and spearhead of the Summit.
Throughout the week, several notable guest speakers were able to interact with the Fellows virtually. Speakers included Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine writer and creator of the landmark 1619 Project; Honorable Elaine Luria, U.S. Congresswoman; Morgan McCoy, American award-winning actress, producer, author, and motivational speaker; Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck and many more. The speakers were able to share advice, encouragement and ideas for success after graduation.
“My favorite part was definitely speaking with James Comey, hands down,” said Carlyle Fulton, a rising senior from North Carolina.
The 45 high school students involved in the Summit were tasked to prepare presentations for the closing ceremony program, which centered on Service to coincide with the theme. The students were split into teams and assigned Team Leaders (Leadership Fellows) who helped them through their projects.
Even though the Summit was virtual, Dr. Taylor tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for the students. “I was not going to let the coronavirus negatively impact a necessity for life-leadership. This past semester, I was teaching synchronously, and I would tell my Leadership Fellows to ‘mic up and camera up,’ and that we would have class as if they were here in the Academy Building. I used that same format for the students during the Summit,” said Dr. Taylor. “Due to technology, I was even able to have Ms. Ursula Carrascal Vizarretta from Lima, Peru, whom I met in May 2019 with the W.D.C. Harvey Scholars as we cleaned the beach with her organization VIDA for our service-learning project, as a guest speaker. If it was not for COVID-19, I would not have been able to have her fly here for the summit, but with the technology, there was an opportunity to bring global leaders to share their perspectives on leadership and the importance of service, commitment and character, which are the three pillars the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute is built upon.”
The WRHLI was founded in 2000, a vision of Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University’s President, with the purpose of developing leaders who make a positive difference in society, whatever chosen profession. Dr. Harvey envisioned a program, “emphasizing integrity, honesty, respect for others, decency, dignity and responsibility.” The objective is achieved through the use of Dr. Harvey’s Ten Step Leadership Model: Vision, Work Ethic, Academic Excellence, Team Building, Innovation, Courage, Management, Fairness, Fiscal Conservation, and Results.
Next year’s 24th Annual High School Leadership Summit has already been scheduled for July 11-17, 2021 and the theme is Commitment.
Arts: Mr. Mario Armstrong, Ms. Kamala Lopez and Ms. Morgan McCoy
Business/Finance: Mr. Ellis Roper and Ms. Patricia P. Williams
Community Service: Ms. Kryste’l Jordan, Ms. Khalilah Miles and Ms. Ursula Carrascal Vizarreta (Lima, Peru)
Education/STEM: Ms. Angela Nixon Boyd, Ms. Bertha Haro, Honorable Robert Hurt and Mr. Clarence “CJ” Sailor
Government: Honorable James B. Comey and Sergeant First Class Emmanuel Sheldon Nicolis
Journalism/Literature: Mr. Mark A. Cooper, II., Ms. Angela Jones and Ms. Nikole Hannah-Jones
Law: Honorable Joe R. Reeder and Ms. Celina Stewart
Politics: Honorable Elaine Luria, Honorable McKinley Price, Honorable Tim Scott and Honorable Donnie Tuck