Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

A free program made possible by Festival participation and donations for selected Fayette County high school juniors to promote essential leadership qualities while providing first hand experiences in the business, government, and tourism sectors of Fayette County, West Virginia.

Each year, twelve to fourteen Fayette County resident students are selected by application and interview to participate in the ten + session program throughout their 11th grade school year.

Programming is geared to provide the information and tools needed to enable them to make the choice to return to Fayette County to live, learn, work and play upon completion of their higher education. Those who successfully complete the curriculum are awarded a $1000 college scholarship to the school/training of their choice.

Sessions include prominent, powerful and motivational speakers such as:
    Carole Scheerbaum, WVU Extension, SimSoc (Simulated Society) program;
    Randy Housh, COO of Hospice of Southern West Virginia's Bowers House;
    Patrick Ford, Executive Director at Business Development Corporation, in the Northern Panhandle of WV;
    Circuit Court Judge, Honorable John W Hatcher, Jr;
    Attorneys at Hamilton, Burgess, Young, Pollard, PLLC;
    Alecia Sirk Ford, Media Director for the Top of West Virginia Convention & Visitors Bureau;
    Eric Pories, owner of Focus Intent and Epic Escape Game;
    and professionals, business owners and managers in a variety of fields as well as government officials!

In 2011 the program expanded to offer select sessions to all students who complete the application and interview process. In 2013 LFC received national recognition from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School and is honored by Harvard as a “Bright Idea” in recognition as a creative and promising government program and partnership. In 2014 the scholarship increased to $1000 for each program graduate. In 2016 a WVU Capstone Study revealed the program is unique and stands apart when compared to youth leadership training programs across the country.

Program coordination and facilitation originated from Dave Pollard and the non-profit Fayette County Education Fund, Inc. board was formed; the first Leadership Fayette County program class graduated in 2002. Rachel Davis joined in 2008 as a coordinator and facilitator. Upon Dave's retirement in 2016, Geoff Heeter joined as a coordinator and facilitator.
The Fayette County Education Fund, Inc. is governed by a Board of Directors:
Members: Sharon Cruikshank, Kenny Parker, Heidi Prior, Aletha Stolar, Angela Sundstrom, and Gene Worthington;
President: Geoff Heeter Program
Facilitator: Rachel Davis

Scholarships and program funding are made possible by donations to the 501C3 Fayette County Education Fund, Inc. Click to donate any sum with PayPal.

View or Download: Program Fact Sheet or Alumni Endorsements