Leadership academy helps Klein students embrace the future

KLEIN, Texas (KTRK) -- School can be tough, but select students in Klein ISD have back up.

These students, like 10-year-old Serenity Garcia, are part of Leadership Academy: Texas.

"It's like a really fun thing to do," Serenity said. "Ms. Shepard, who does the Leadership Academy, she gives us a lot of activities."

We caught up with school counselor Sonya Shepard and asked about the program.

"A lot of the students were very quiet In the beginning," Shepard said. "The circle gives them a chance to explain and explore their feelings."

Participants write essays, and a few from each class are selected. The groups meet on each elementary campus a couple times each week. They sit in a circle as they focus on building each other up. Each campus' resource officer also stops by.

"They need to understand at a young age in today's society and culture that police are their friends, we're here to help," Cpt. James Andrew with Klein ISD Police said.

State funds help make this program possible, and each year it leads up to one big night: a graduation ceremony at Klein Forest High School.

"I think I've learned that it's better to trust," Serenity said. "It's good to trust in people and be kind to others."

Investment in the next generation, not just the subjects they're learning in the classroom, but the character and relationships they're forming before heading out into the world.

"It's changed me, because I know that I have a group where I can like express myself," Serenity said.

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