Last week, 4 brave students from MLK High School took an even larger step outside of their comfort zone and onto a course that they would remember forever.

Khalil Brintley, Rhashon Brew, Keon Ragland and Nicko Bryant are all seniors at MLK high school and participated in the 6-week summer intensive leadership program with Outward Bound to help bridge the gap between merging schools, Germantown High School and MLK High School.  As a capstone to their leadership program, the students were given the opportunity to attend a 5-day backpacking expedition…Only these four boys took the plunge.

“From the beginning (of the summer program), those boys demonstrated leadership.” Say’s Lauren Trawick-Stables, Program Manager of the summer program and instructor on the 5-day expedition.   She’s been with the MLK and Germantown students from the start and said she knew that out of all of the students in the program those would be the ones who would step up to the challenge.

Lauren describes the students and acknowledges their uniqueness within the group.

“They are all very diverse with different interests.  It wasn’t like they were all friends from the football team.

Khalil is one of those quiet leaders- he leads by example and is very compassionate and caring.

Rhashon is the thinker- he’s really curious about why people do the things they do.  His sense of humor always kept the group’s moral high throughout the program.

Keon is more introspective.  He has good personal insight and his honesty and ability to share his story helped the group relate while setting the bar high for openness.

Nicko is confident and self-aware.  He understands his strengths and areas for growth and is driven to set high achieving goals.”

The summer leadership program helped lay the foundation for the expedition.  Weekly themes on diversity and inclusion, dealing with conflict, compassionate leadership, along with daily reflection and real life transference inspired trust within the group.  The students began to share about their life, realize that it was worth sharing and that they are able to make a difference.

The foundation was exemplified on the expedition.  The 4 boys were leading themselves and using the skills they learned to take care of each other.  Throughout the 5-days, they hiked along the Appalachian Trail, shouldering heavy backpacks, cooked over a whisper light stove, slept under the stars, climbed a real rock face, and conquered their fears through it all.

Lauren reflects on one of the responses from her student.  He said, “No one has ever believed in me… for that long… to see me from the beginning to the end.”

When the seniors returned back to school after their course, their teacher recognized them over the loud speaker.  The whole school knows that they were the ones who stepped up to the challenge.  Rhashon says, “I will encourage them (my peers) to be a part of Outward Bound and experience the natural things that I had never experienced.”

Nicko, Khalil, Rhashon, and Keon all want to intern at POBS and do another course.  They all have acquired a new love for the outdoors and challenge.  Come watch them rappel down a 31 story building on October 18th!

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