WILLIAMSON – The newest class of the Appalachian Leadership Academy (ALA) of Cotiga Fellows was introduced at a special luncheon presentation at the Williamson campus of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC) on Monday.
Retired U.S. Air Force 4-star General Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, who is president of the ALA Education Foundation, came back to his hometown as featured speaker for the induction.
Foglesong, who grew up in Chattaroy and graduated from Williamson High School and West Virginia University, started the scholarship program for local Mingo County students.
“Doc” as he is fondly known by his friends and acquaintances, told the group that there are three “W’s” that begin a search on the internet and he has three things starting with “W” as advice for the new inductees and the ones who graduated from the class of 2014.
First he said to ask “who are you?” Then he told the students to ask “what are you,” and “where are you going.”
Foglesong, whose father was a plumber and mother a teacher, told the students that they should “recognize their capabilities, access what you are.”
He offered the advice by telling the inductees and recent grads to “be true and honest to yourself and to have a strong work ethic.”
The former fighter pilot told the students they should have a 20-year plan, but not to necessarily stay with that play if things change in their lives.
“Sometimes you have to call an audible,” Foglesong said. “But think about where you will be in five years, 10 years and have a 20-year plan.”
“Periodically access where you are with your plan,” he continued.
Foglesong, whose work still sees him travel around the world, told the group that 2016 was an important year because it will be a presidential election. The retired general just recently traveled to Russia, Israel and England as an advisor. He talked about how the United States was still the “gold standard” in the world and that every country, including Russia, wants to emulate the U.S.
“We want to be the only super power in the world,” Foglesong stressed.
He concluded by congratulating the new inductees and their families.
The program began with an introduction by Program Coordinator Karen Preece and Southern’s interim President Merle Dempsey spoke briefly and introduced the retired general.
Angela Sloan, of the Cotiga class of 2014, gave a well-versed presentation entitled “These things I promise you.”
The 2016 class of inductees were introduced and the outgoing class was presented with awards for their hard work.
The 2016 class consists of Cassidy Hudspeth, Joshua McClanahan, Susan “Kim” McClanahan, Kyle Newsome, Tiffany Queen, Amber Thaxton and Kelly Warren.
The 2014 class was also introduced and that group consisted of David Boyd, Josh Cassell, Lee Diamond, Angela Sloan, Taria Watson and Kelly Webb.
The ceremony was followed by a luncheon in the main lobby of the local community college.
Others from SVVCTC present were Vice President for Economic, Workforce, and Community Development Allyn Sue Barker and Vice President for Development Ron Lemon.
The Cotiga ALA program is designated to students who reside in Mingo County and are based at the Williamson Campus. However, this award does not preclude the student from registering at other college locations.
The scholarship is renewable and the student may reapply each semester but renewal is not guaranteed. Renewal applicants must maintain a cumulative college grade point average of 3.0.
Cotiga Development Company, LLC, is a long-standing land and mineral resource company and helps fund the Appalachian Leadership Academy Fellows Scholarships.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)