By Tamas Mondovics
The Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office School Resource Section is seeking local high school juniors advancing to seniors to participate in the Sheriff’s Seventh Annual Rising Stars Academy (SRS) scheduled for this summer.
In 2010, HCSO’s Community Outreach Division, in conjunction with members of the HCSO training division, Tampa Police Department, and the Hillsborough County School District, developed the leadership program in order to reward high achieving students with the week long leadership course.
“The mission of the academy is to provide a leadership program that enables each student to be exposed to principles that will enhance their ability to be a successful and responsible citizen,” said Sgt. Sean Peters with the Sheriff’s Office School Resource section during the sixth SRS graduation ceremony.
Each student graduating from the academy is rewarded for their efforts, which last year included a $1,000 scholarship and a laptop computer.
Perhaps the most valuable reward, however, may have been a lifelong commitment that the students forge with one another as they share the same commitment, leadership goals, principles and abilities.
“I have been fortunate to be involved with the Rising Stars Academy from the beginning,” said School Resource Deputy Mike Alonso, who is now serving the community at Newsome High School.
Alonso began his involvement with the program by helping with team building, but now has the privilege of serving as the Lead Instructor for the Academy curriculum.
After receiving the applications, one eligible student is selected to represent each public high school in Hillsborough to form the three dozen-member class.
The upcoming academy is fully funded by the Sheriff’s Office and is scheduled to be held from Monday through Friday, June 13-17, at various HCSO training facilities that, according to Alonso, also includes the department’s training range as well as the courthouse, port and the operations center.
The course will culminate in an awards ceremony for the participants and their families. A scholarship award, administered by the Hillsborough Education Foundation, is provided to students who continue to meet eligibility requirements. Visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.