21st Century Leaders

The mission of 21st Century Leaders is to inspire the next generation of Georgia leaders by empowering high school students with essential business and community leadership skills through programs connecting a diverse group of enthusiastic peers and passionate professionals.

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Student Testimonials

Sanjid Dewan

Sanjid Dewan, Darlington School, Class of 2014

I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other students that I might not have otherwise. I had the chance to step out of my comfort zone and connect with those who are not like me. I now know many students in schools dispersed all over Georgia. I have made relationships with students both in my community and across the state.

After this program, I am able to call myself an extrovert. I have gained many networking skills that will benefit me both now, and in the future.

Sanjid Dewan
Sanjid Dewan
Angela Jiang

Angela Jiang, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Class of  2015

The level of respect that every participant in the 21CL program is treated with between the coordinators, sponsors, and professionals is practically non-existent in any other organization. Although I am merely a high school student, the respect I am given empowers me and motivates me to pursue my professional goals and dreams. 21CL is a great program that helps students reach their inner potential outside the typical classroom and high school setting. In 21CL, we are not simply teenagers – we truly are leaders of the future, on level with every adult, looked to for our input, and admired for our determination in advancing society.

Because of my participation in 21CL, I can truly call myself a highly motivated individual. I will go to no end to advancing myself, and I will never settle for less than what I have worked for. After meeting and interacting with business professionals, I have role models to look up to. After being given great opportunities, I am not afraid to take initiative. I am truly excited for my future, and I feel that 21st Century Leaders has prepared me for my future career.  Establishing confidence in yourself serves you greatly. Even in the classroom setting, I have noticed this year that I have procrastinated less, and that I am more driven to deliver quality work. I have also successfully run for several leadership positions. 21CL has helped me to develop as a young adult.

21CL has opened a great number of new relationships and connections – current and potential. Each 21CL leader recognizes each other because of our experiences. The alumni that continually come back to contribute to this program only serve to prove how strong these relationships can become. During the summer camps, I looked up to my camp coordinators, and in return, I have made long-lasting connections and friendships. Within my fellow leaders, I have made several strong friendships that have lasted, no matter what distance we may be apart. It is truly incredible how a small group of people can open up hundreds of possible new relationships and friendships. Thus, as every person in 21CL strives to advance their lives and because of our goals and dreams, we are inevitably connected and tied together as an organization.

Angela Jiang
Angela Jiang

Kara Murphy, Banks County High School, Class of 2012

Kara Murphy
Quinton Cummings

Quinton Cummings
Jefferson County High School, Class of 2013

During my first summer with 21st Century Leaders, I enjoyed the way that the staff made me feel, you feel like you are the King of the world! I also enjoyed the workshops that I went to. They were very engaging and very educational.

I’ve changed a lot because of  21st Century Leaders.  I have become a better leader in my broadcast journalism class because it helped me to understand what a leader is. It’s not just about receiving all the fame and the good jobs, but really understanding how to be a proactive leader. I have built tons and tons on relationships with this program, I’m about 200 miles away from half of the leaders that were at the camp, but I stay in contact with them and with Mr. Bob, Ms. Miriam, and with Ms. Prissy. They are wonderful people and the right people to be in the positions that they are in. I really, really, really, think that every child should go through 21st Century Leaders. This a great program!

Quinton Cummings
Quinton Cummings
Maria Flores 1

Maria Flores, Etowah High School, Class of 2011

Reinhardt University, Class of 2015

Current Employers, Zaxby’s and Reinhardt University Admissions Department

My favorite part about all three 21st Century Leaders programs I attended was being a part of activities that I alone would have never had the opportunity to be a part of. I was exposed to some of the most successful leaders in our state and even got to sit with them at a dinner table and receive some motivational words from them. I was taken to the corporate offices of some of the most popular companies in our state, and even visited the Oglethorpe reservoir! 21st Century Leaders gave me the most unique and wonderful experiences that to this day I consider my favorite.

21st Century Leaders molded me into the leader I am today. While I did take on many leadership roles in my high school before the programs, I was never certain on how to be a great leader. 21st Century Leaders taught me that a great leader does not always have to be the most outspoken person in a team, and can sometimes just be the person that leads by example. 21st Century Leaders staff also showed me great support by taking the time to appreciate small things I would do throughout the week. Through this, I gained a stronger confidence that not even the sky is the limit, and it has made me a more positive person than when I entered the programs. I am no longer afraid to risks because the people in the programs have taught me that there is no such thing as failure unless you stop trying.

21st Century Leaders has also been the catalyst for many of the endeavors I took on my junior and senior year of high school. After doing G5! @ Goizueta and Berry EarthCare Summer Programs, I was inspired by some of the leaders I met to make a change. It inspired me to start the Latinos Unidos club at my high school which is a club that is targeted towards Hispanic students and parents to get them more involved in academics and community service to ultimately help guide them through the high school process to lead them to college. The relationships I made in the program made this very possible because I had a support system that helped give me ideas on how to start and where to take the club as it expanded. At the G5! @ Goizueta program I received a brochure about Robert Goizueta and his scholarship fund. Thanks to learning about him, I applied and became a recipient for his scholarship at Reinhardt University and will now be attending college. Some of my favorite relationships I built occurred at the CNN Leadership Unplugged program. After attending the program, a local magazine invited me to write an article about the program including pictures of my week. 21st Century Leaders then invited me to be a part of the CNN Fix Our Schools Segment with Carl Azuz. I cannot even begin to describe how blessed I feel with the relationships I have made through 21st Century Leaders and its staff. I have great comfort knowing I have them as a support system, and I know they will continue to be there for me throughout the years.

Maria Flores 1
Maria Flores

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Success Stories

  • More than 10,000 students have participated in the program since 1991.
  • 97% of 21st Century Leaders participants enter college.
  • 72% of 21st Century Leaders participants report taking leadership roles in their community.

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