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Retired U.S. Army Gen. H. Hugh Shelton speaks to high school students during opening ceremonies for the first Shelton Leadership Challenge July 14 at ECU. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

High schoolers hone leadership skills at ECU

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

The inaugural Shelton Leadership Challenge at East Carolina University opened Sunday with a welcome from the camp’s namesake – former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired U.S. Army Gen. H. Hugh Shelton.

Shelton addressed the 25 high school students who will spend the week navigating challenges and activities revolving around leadership skills and interpersonal dynamics. The residential camp agenda focuses on a series of values: Honesty, integrity, passion, diversity and social responsibility.

“In making you a better leader, we also want to make you a better person,” Shelton said.

The leadership challenge was founded by Shelton at his alma mater, N.C. State University, a decade ago. He assured students they have much to gain from the experience, and asked them to focus on learning to lead and follow, to give and accept criticism and to find ways around apparent roadblocks.

“Throughout your life – as a leader and as a person – never, ever quit,” Shelton said. “You’re only defeated if you say you’re defeated.”

This is the first year ECU has hosted the Shelton Leadership Challenge, sponsored by the Office of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development and the Division of Student Affairs. The week will conclude with a graduation ceremony July 20.

More information about the Shelton Leadership Challenge is available online at

Shelton Leadership Challenge participants and their family members enjoyed an opportunity to meet Gen. Hugh Shelton, for whom the residential camp is named.

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