Students invited to Leadership Institute

Published 10:36 pm Friday, May 8, 2020

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Applications for the 2020-2021 Chamber Student Leadership Institute are now available, according to the Isle of Wight County Chamber of Commerce’s website.

In 2013, the Chamber had begun the SLI, and claims it’s the first of its kind offered to high school students in the Hampton Roads region.
In Western Tidewater, the SLI is offered to juniors from the following schools: Windsor High School, Isle of Wight Academy, Nansemond Suffolk Academy, Smithfield High School, as well as home-schooled students.
The students learn about building teams and self-confidence, using resources and making a difference in their communities. An ethics component is built into each class, which will parallel the academic year. The program is privately funded through sponsorships to offset the bulk of its expenses, and students pay only a nominal participation fee.

Martha Russ chairs this initiative. Facilitators for 2020-21 are Renee Rountree and Judy Winslow.
The SLI is sponsored by Smithfield Foods and the Town of Smithfield.

“The Student Leadership Institute taught me valuable skills; such as cooperation, understanding, and dedication that I am able to use, not only for my current leadership positions, but also for my future endeavors,” said Jenny Saunders

, an SLI graduate.

“Leadership Isle of Wight did more for me than any other program in which I’ve been involved.  During the course of the year, I was able to create a bond with fellow classmates who represented education, business and local government. From this core of contacts, I have been able to serve much more effectively as a community volunteer. The program was most instructive in assisting me to professionally conduct business in Isle of Wigh County,” said Bob Cole, Class of 2005.

To download an application, go to

The deadline to sign up is Friday, June 12.