Day five of the A.P. Torrence Youth Leadership Academy was a day for celebration. Students learned about developing healthy habits and reflected on what they learned, what they appreciated, and what they will do post-academy.
Leadership Academy Celebration
Dr. Jeffrey Howard addresses academy students
The day started with Dr. Jeffrey Howard—cardiologist. Dr. Howard told students, “Health requires sacrifice. You have healthy bodies right now, but as you get older, your body changes. Focus on doing healthy things while you are young.” Dr. Howard discussed four ways to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle:
1. Eat vegetables
2. Eat in moderation
3. Be physically active
4. Be proactive about your health
Later in the morning, students formed a circle and offered reflections on their academy experience. Each student stood and completed answers to the following prompts:
(1) I have learned …
(2) I appreciate …
(3) I am going to …
Counselors Darkese Wicker and Julian Smith as well as Professor Ken joined the circle. Professor Ken remarked, "It’s going to take strong, young black men as yourselves to save our race. We need strong, young black men to step up as head of our families, communities, as leaders of our race."
Lieutenant Lewis of the Atlanta Police Department was the final speaker to address students on the last day of the academy. Lieutenant Lewis encouraged students to commit to reading one book this summer.
Lieutenant Lewis also added, "Make a positive out of everything you have to deal with. The money in your pocket doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with your life."
The final hour of the A.P. Torrence Youth Leadership Academy ended with an award ceremony to students. Each student was given a certificate and commemorative Coca-Cola bottle. Three students were recognized for outstanding achievement. Professor Torrence reflected, "I am proud of each and every one of you. It is important that you remember what you have been taught, have learned, and have observed. Wear knowledge like a wreath around your neck—make it a part of you. You will become what ever you want to become and be successful at it."