NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The more than 30 Nacogdoches County eighth graders in the Leaders of Tomorrow program, or LOT Crew, will participate in robotics and stomp rocket activities to explore principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics while visiting the Cole STEM Building at Stephen F. Austin State University on March 3.
The LOT Crew program began nearly 20 years ago as a leadership development collaboration among SFA, the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Nacogdoches and the nine Nacogdoches County independent school districts. Since then, the program has provided immersive, community-based experiences for hundreds of local students.
Dr. Judy Abbott, dean of SFA’s James I. Perkins College of Education and chair of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce education committee, said the program’s concept is to develop leadership skills and introduce youth to what it means to be an engaged citizen of the community.
“We make selections of the experiences on a monthly basis to introduce the students to different aspects of the city and show them areas where citizens might have influence in serving on boards or through leadership to help the community,” Abbott said.
The LOT Crew has already explored city and county government, manufacturing and large industry, health and medical services, Nacogdoches tourism and hospitality, and community theatre during its field trips this school year. In April, the LOT Crew will visit local public safety organizations and volunteer for a day of service at Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary School in Nacogdoches.
SFA students who are members of the university’s leadership honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa, serve as mentors for these eighth graders. LOT Crew members and ODK leaders begin their work in early September during a Saturday orientation retreat, continue their leadership development at monthly meetings and complete the program with a graduation ceremony in mid-May.
To learn more about LOT Crew, contact the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce at (936) 560-5533.