For Students, By Students: SiRPHA Summit 2018



On your mark.

Get set.

Youth Summit!



The scene for this year’s summit on April 13 was the Virginia Horse Center. Students from Rockbridge County and Parry McCluer high schools flooded the mezzanine for a day of fun, learning, team building and strategic planning.


The summit is an annual event hosted by SiRPHA (Students in Rockbridge Promoting Healthy Alternatives)—a county-wide teen organization supported by Rockbridge Area Community Services (RACS). Every detail of the summit was organized, planned and executed by a group of 13 students, some of our best. Kerrigan Harrison, lead SiRPHA member at Parry McCluer, and Byron Winchester, lead member at RCHS, deserve a lot of credit for their hard work and leadership. 


Students were encouraged and challenged by EJ Carrion, an enthusiastic young business entrepreneur from Texas who has been featured on ABC and NBC and invited to the White House as a special guest. His message was simple: dare to have big dreams, relinquish your fear and boldly strive to accomplish them. EJ captivated the audience with from the word go. One of the best things about EJ was his ability to connect with the students. After he finished speaking he hung around for a while to talk and eat lunch with the students. A most impressive gesture, and much appreciated by all present.


One goal for the Summit is to pinpoint problem areas and design solutions that enhance the community and provide activities for outside of school. The students spent the afternoon brainstorming and compiling ideas to present to the group. The ideas expressed ranged from bringing in popular restaurants such Chick-fil-a to opening bowling alleys and arcade-style hangouts.


At the end of the summit, students completed a survey. The positive results reflect the excellent planning by SiRPHA leaders. Almost 100 percent said they would invite a friend to participate in next year’s summit, and 30 percent said they would like to join SiRPHA. At the end of the day, this Youth Summit was a great success and a testament to the hard work of the leadership.


In addition to the student leaders and participants, thanks go to Rhonda Pedigo of RCHS; Mark Wheeler of PMHS; RAPC members Rebecca Textor, Tracy Hinty, and Annie LePere; and the Virginia Horse Center.

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