NC high school students to attend black leadership program at WFU

Men of Distinction WebsiteBlack males from high schools across North Carolina will attend the “Men of Distinction: Wake Forest University Academy for Future Leaders” program Nov. 10-12.

Forty-five sophomores and juniors from 21 high schools across North Carolina were accepted to the free, residential program. The students will travel to Wake Forest from hometowns including Burlington, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, High Point, New Bern, Statesville, Tarboro, Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas.

Wake Forest Junior Jonathan Kelly of Greensboro created the program through a grant from the university’s Fund for Ethics and Leadership. Kelly is a chemistry major and a student member of the Wake Forest Board of Trustees.

“Men of Distinction” was designed to teach black males to realize their academic goals and personal potential through leadership and community service, Kelly said.

“I had a mentor in high school who pushed me to excel and challenge myself,” Kelly said. “And once I got to Wake Forest, I felt very blessed and decided to give something back to students who may not already have a mentor in their lives.”

Applicants were required to have at least a 2.5 grade point average, and have some leadership experience or community involvement. The program was advertised on Wake Forest’s Web site and through letters to high school administrators. The “Men of Distinction” homepage,, features a program schedule and other information about the program. It also has an interactive display of information about black leaders in the United States throughout the past two centuries.

“Men of Distinction” will feature a mix of workshops and social activities at Wake Forest including a banquet and a football tailgate party. Participants will pair with Wake Forest student volunteers and stay in the students’ residence halls.

Workshop courses like “Tomorrow’s Success Begins Today” will offer information about business etiquette, team building, goal setting, mentoring, time management and interpersonal communication.

Kelly recruited speakers from the university and from the Triad’s business sector to lead the workshops. Representatives from the following career fields will make presentations: medicine, computing and information systems, science and research, communication and mass media, education and politics. Wake Forest President Thomas K. Hearn Jr. will also make a presentation during the program.

Wake Forest chose to financially support the program because it will help grow leadership among an underserved population in North Carolina, said Samuel T. Gladding, associate provost.

Administrative and academic departments and programs sponsoring the program include American Ethnic Studies, Admissions, Athletics, Student Technology Advisors (STARS), Multicultural Affairs, Residence Life and Housing, and the Counseling Center.

Categories: University Announcement