John Sherman Cooper Institute
The John Sherman Cooper Leadership Institute is a leadership development program for upcoming 8th grade students at Meece Middle School. It involves two weeks in the summer of intense leadership training sessions, including training by community leaders, focused on developing the potential that the selected students have already shown. The students also are exposed to local government, both city and county, and a Somerset Independent School Board meeting. The impact of these two weeks is used during the school year to help make our school and our community better. The students do community service projects and show leadership skills through the activities they participate in at Meece Middle School.
Students are selected for the John Sherman Cooper Leadership Institute at the end of their seventh-grade year. The selection committee is composed of the seventh-grade teachers, who meet together to create a list of viable candidates.
While it is impossible to create such a list with complete objectivity, the teachers use the following general criteria in the beginning stages of the selection process. Once a long list is made, the teachers must work together to shorten the list, through discussion of each student’s behavior and performance throughout the year. While the maximum number of students may vary from year to year, the preferred maximum number of students for this Institute is 20.
The following criteria are used to select the participants.
the student has been identified as being “gifted and talented” in the “leadership” category;
the student has proven himself/herself capable of maintaining passing grades;
the ability to work in cooperative groups;
the student has exhibited and actively used positive leadership skills throughout the year;
the student has consistently controlled his/her behavior in the classroom, thus proving that he/she will act in a mature and dignified manner in public places while representing Meece Middle School.