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    By Todd Martin

    An accomplished student leader involved in numerous school events, Shoemaker High School junior Frederick Hicks didn't expect anything monumental during a leadership training event this past spring.

    He was surprised.

    Now a senior, Hicks spent a week in April at the Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership Program, an elite training opportunity through the Military Child Education Coalition that took place at the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado.

    Only 12 high school students from across the country and around the world took part.

    "We went in thinking this is just another leadership event," said Hicks, describing the mood at the start of the event. Next, one of the trainers asked participants to consider 'What is intellectual stimulation?'"

    "Then, I started thinking, 'What? We have a lot to learn.'"

    Hicks is president of Student 2 Student at Shoemaker, the MCEC organization that embraces new students and conducts tours and mixers to help integrate newcomers into the large campus.

    He is also active in band, athletics and student government. He's accustomed to leading.

    This, though, was a little different.

    "It was a reality check," he said. "It taught me not to be arrogant, that leading a group of four is different than leading a group of 40."

    Going into his senior year, Hicks is going to have some serious tests of his leadership abilities. His schedule this year includes serving as a drum major for the marching band while playing varsity football.

    "My band directors and coaches are working together," Hicks said. "They are supporting me."

    The highly-active student said he enjoys athletics and doesn't want to let down the team his senior year and he feels the same way about band and in fact plans to go to music school in college.

    The first Shoemaker student to get the invitation to attend the MCEC leadership academy, Hicks said the students learned from instructors and cadets at the Air Force Academy.

    "From the time we met our peers and teachers we were learning the whole time," he said. "We learned how serious leadership is, how different people lead differently, how to consider different people and develop skills in people."

    The students learned leadership styles of great leaders like Walt Disney and broke down the component parts of building relationships and helping people to find their place on a team. "I didn't know you could break down leadership so much," he said.

    Through an extensive application process and interview, the leaders of the event seemed to known about the students and their style of leadership. "They knew about us and how we lead," Hicks said.

    "We established a bond, even though it was just one week," he said. "We spent all day together. The last day we did an escape room and put our leadership techniques to use and got out."

    June 11, 2018

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