Ariel Draper

DALLAS—Some students get out of school for the summer not knowing exactly how they will spend their time. That is not the case for Ariel Draper. She heads back for the fourth consecutive year to the Lone Star Leadership Academy. However this time, she is no longer the student. She is in a leadership role.

Draper, who will be in the ninth grade at Copperas Cove High School in the fall, was selected for the elite leadership camp in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades but continues to be excited to attend again this year.

She will travel to Dallas/Fort Worth to be a youth facilitator, developing and exercising leadership skills by mentoring camp participants, facilitating student leadership groups, and participating in leadership skill building activities.

“I give up part of my summer for this camp because it’s very fun and it gets me out to go and see and learn new things. It’s worth going over and over again because it’s a great opportunity to make new friends and you learn something new each time,” Draper said.

Draper was selected based on her outstanding academic success, demonstrated leadership ability, involvement in school and community activities and successful completion of a previous Lone Star Leadership Academy Camp and service on the Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council. Members must complete leadership lessons and lead others in a service project for a need identified in their community. For two consecutive years, Draper planned and executed the Kick Cancer in the Butt fundraising event.

Before becoming a facilitator, Draper received the Lone Star Leadership Academy Trailblazer designation that recognized her participation in all three camps: Dallas, Austin, and Houston. This select group of students is honored for choosing to develop their leadership skills and learn about the state while experiencing notable sites in three of Texas’ major metropolitan areas.

Although the criteria to get accepted into the camp is rigorous, Draper gives good advice and encouragement to any student who wants to attend and develop his/her leadership skills.

“You have to work hard and maintain good grades if you’d like to be selected,” Draper said. “You should try your best and push yourself to the limits.”

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