Leaders of tomorrow

Leaders of Tomorrow students purchase food for those in need. Front, from left, are Matthew Allen, Daquarius Anderson, Jose Alavarado and Maya Zeigler. Middle, from left, are Kala Ryans, Edson Amador, Taylor Sellers, Alondra Perez and Winnie Wong. Back, from left, are Samantha Abercrombie, Brandon Curry, Nick Thompson, Dalton Harris, Karysmah Lilly, Michael McWhorter and Nick Norris. (Contributed)

Shoppers at Lucky’s Foodland in Montevallo were surprised on a recent Wednesday to find the store invaded by middle school students. Sixteen kids were working in groups carefully consulting sales flyers, comparing prices and filling their shopping carts with canned goods, pasta, rice, cookies and such.

These were students in the Leaders of Tomorrow program at Montevallo Middle School, and this was the second of their monthly class days. They had been divided into four groups who were to plan a menu around a budget and purchase the food for a family served by Shelby Emergency Assistance. The cost of the purchases was provided by community donations to the program.

The fun-learning day included storing and stacking the groceries at SEA, a visit to the First Baptist Church where Dr. Terry Sutton told them about the long history of the church, and then a trip to Ebenezer Swamp where a University of Montevallo professor, Dr. Mike Hardig, explained the workings and worth of the swamp.

The 2011-12 LOT students are: Alondra Perez, Winnie Wong, Nick Norris, Daquarius Anderson, Jose Alvarado, Karysmah Lilly, Maya Zeigler, Kala Ryans, Samantha Abercrombie, Brandon Curry, Matthew Allen, Edson Amador, Michael McWhorter, Nick Thompson, Dalton Harris and Taylor Sellers.

The unique LOT program is celebrating 11 years of building high-quality leadership skills in seventh grade students.

The effort is based on the knowledge that there are all kinds of leaders and that much can be done to guide them in the right direction and to enhance their leadership skills.

The students are selected using no criteria other than the potential for leadership.

The LOT program is operated and financed through the cooperative efforts of a board made up of community and civic leaders as well as members of the MMS faculty and staff.

Theresa Pritchett serves as chairwoman of the board.

“A program such as the Leaders of Tomorrow not only instills leadership qualities in students but helps to build their character,” said Cheryl Fenn, the new counselor at MMS. “The students get to witness the inner workings of the community, meet local leaders, and participate in community service. The local leaders are people the students can emulate and one day aspire to become. The students may look at these field trips as a fun day out of school, but they are actually learning more than they ever imagined.”

To learn more about the LOT program or to make a contribution, call 665-1681 or 665-2343.

Catherine Legg can be reached by email at clegg2@bellsouth.