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Student Success Summit Adds 'Leadership Academy'

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The Student Success Summit always lacked one thing, students. In it's fourth year. organizers decided to add that element with a Leadership Academy.

"We have 33 students from five high schools across the state," said Adam Green, from the West Virginia High Education Policy Commission. "They participated in a two day leadership academy to develop them as HEROs."

HEROs stands for Higher Education Readiness Officer.

The Leadership Academy allowed students to take a tour of WVU's campus and participate in activities to boost their confidence.

Phillip Barbour High School Junior, Julianna Findley said the academy gave her high aspirations for the upcoming school year.

"I hope that I can be a little more encouraging, a little more empathetic, and nicer to some of the students," said Findley. "And not only better myself, but better my whole school, and my whole community."

Attendees included everything from kindergarten teachers to college presidents, and business owners to military personnel. They all come together each year to help students push through the education pipeline.

The organizers said that by 2020 more than 51 percent of jobs will require an education past high school.

"Sadly, West Virginia has less than thirty percent right now with that. It's everyone's business to work together and get these students through the pipeline," Green said. "The addition of the students is really what has made it unique this year. The interest has really grown."

"It doesn't only help the kids who come here, but it helps the kids who come here go out and help everyone else. It was awesome, probably one of the highlights of my summer," said Findley when asked about her experience at the Academy.

The HEROs main objective was to take what they learned from the Leadership Academy back to their high schools to encourage other students to start thinking about higher education.