Usher to host South African school pupils in USA
FIVE brilliant South African students are off to the US this month after being selected to participate in a leadership development programme, an initiative by top American R&B star Usher.
The students were selected in a competition where the essays they wrote were judged the most outstanding.
The five will join students from across the world at Usher's New Look Foundation 2012 World Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference takes place from June 19 to 23.
The selected students are:
- Kalisha Bheemraj and Ashlin Bheemraj, both of Sunward Park High School (Gauteng);
- Ntai Thatho of Kgotlathuto Secondary School (Free State),
- Brilliant Manyathi of Lethulwazi Comprehensive School (Gauteng) and
- Rorisang Moseli of St Benedict's College (Gauteng).
The five were selected from 12 schools in Gauteng and Free State.
To qualify, the students had to attend the Powered by Service training offered by New Look, which took place in March this year.
On top of that, the they were asked to write three 500-word essays answering the questions: How can you use your talents and education to impact your community?; how will attending the world leadership conference have an impact on your life?; and what do you think are the top issues facing your generation?
The pupils selected to attend the World Leadership Conference were chosen by an independent committee in the US.
"When I was informed that I was selected, it felt good. I am so happy and feel that this is a great honour to represent my country at this level. I expect to come back with leadership skills that I will impart to my immediate community in Free State," said Thatho.
Kalisha Bheemraj said: "For me, let alone going to the US, this will be the first time in fact I will be on a plane. I worked hard to get this opportunity as I was so serious about the assignment right from the beginning".
"My family are so happy for me. In fact, they seem to be happier than I am, especially my father."
New Look Foundation focuses on certifying young people in the four leadership pillars of talent, education, career and service. Locally it is supported by the Tim Tebeila Foundation, a non-profit organisation .
"Once back on June 24 we expect them to start imparting the knowledge they would have learnt from this conference right away.
"We will continue to support them locally through further training," said Buhle Dlamini of the Tim Tebeila Foundation, who will accompany the five pupils to the conference.
This article was first published in the Sowetan newspaper on 8 June 2012