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Route 40 Flyer
Pencader Heritage seminar explores leadership

By Patricia E. Lang
Contributing Writer
Students on Pencader Charter High School's Mock Trial Inaugural Team met with Judge Richard Cooch at a leadership seminar hosted by the Pencader Heritage Area Association.

Photos by: Patricia E. Lang - Click here

The Pencader Heritage Area Association held its first Student Leadership Seminar at the Pencader Heritage Museum on Old Baltimore Pike. Twenty-five students, from Glasgow High Air Force Junior ROTC, Family Career Community League Association (FCCLA), Student Government and Pencader Charter High School's Mock Trial Inaugural Team, spent five hours in an interactive workshop discussing "What is a leader?"

"We wanted to broaden their perspective," said Bill Conley, vice president of the Pencader association.

New Castle County Councilman David Tackett described the role of county government and the types of decisions a council member is called on to make. He talked about the new county park at the intersection of Routes 40 and 896, saying how it will be unique in the types of activities it offers, such as a Sledding Hill and a skateboard park.

Robin P. Billings from the Boy Scouts of America did a presentation on one of their newest program - venturing. Venturing, for ages 14-20, boys and girls, helps build character, peer-to-peer bounds and independence through extreme outdoor adventure. Most venturers also participate in a service project in their community, such as organizing food drives and working with the elderly.

Lt. James Wolhar, along with SFC Joe Nye, Sgt. Will Breitigan and SPC Chuck Wilson gave a presentation for the Delaware National Guard Anti-Drug team. After discussing and defining leadership - "Leadership is influencing people - by providing purpose, direction and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization" - the team had the students suggest what attributes a leader should have. Some of their ideas included being a good listener, self-discipline, communication skills and being open-minded.

"Champions don't become champions in the ring - they are only recognized there," said Lt. Wolhar, quoting the leadership proverb. "He who thinks he leads, but has no followers is only taking a walk."

Judge Richard Cooch, eighth Generation of the Cooch Family in Pencader described a day at the Delaware Superior Court, where, serious cases, such as murder and drug-related charges, are tried.

Cooch, who is Resident Judge for New Castle County, commented on the many lives he has seen ruined by drugs, and said the easiest way to not get in trouble is, "don't start."

At the end of the conference, the National Guardsman showed the students how to eat an MRE - Meal Ready to Eat - where all the components of the meal as well as the "heating element" is in one seal-tight plastic bag.

Conley said the Pencader Heritage Area Association was pleased by the event and hoped it becomes an annual tradition. He expects to invite 50 students to the 2008 conference. "We do have the common vision of helping local student leaders becomeall they can be," he said.

The Pencader Museum, originally an 1865 dairy barn, opened Sept 29, 2007. In just six months, they have collected cannons, swords and cannon balls from the era. They also have a display of Native American artifacts donated by Chief Quiet Thunder. Their curator Bob Barnes, a retired Newark Police officer, has created displays on the 1703 Welsh settlers, the 1951 Chrysler Tank Plant, the eight generations of Cooch families, and much more.

The museum's hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the first and third Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information on the Museum and PHAA activities contact Bill Conley at, or go online to www.PencaderHeritage.Org.

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