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Brooks Harper gives 8th graders tips on success

Students in middle school learned about the skills they need to succeed in their careers on Monday.

Eighth-grade students from five middle schools in the Rowan-Salisbury School System gathered at Corriher-Lipe Middle School to hear Career Development Expert Brooks Harper speak.

Students from China Grove Middle School, Knox Middle School, Southeast Middle School and West Rowan Middle School, along with Corriher-Lipe students, attended the event.

Harper spoke to the students about leadership, initiative, marketing themselves and surrounding themselves with people who will push them to succeed.

Harper is an author and speaker. He wrote “Why Should We Hire You” and “7 Skills to Make Mills,” both about career and life success.

Pamela Orbison, business, finance, IT and marketing educator at Corriher-Lipe, organized the event after hearing Harper speak at a career and technical education conference.

“I felt pretty strong about getting our kids to hear him. I think he was pretty engaging,” she said.

Orbison said many of the eighth-graders are lost when it comes to high school.

“They don’t understand that the things they’re doing now affect their future,” she said.

Harper gave the students tips on success that they could use right away, like getting involved with extracurricular activities to enhance their leadership skills.

“Leadership is all about taking advantage of the opportunities,” Harper said, encouraging students to get involved in activities like student government, Future Business Leaders of America and HOSA: Future Health Professionals.

Harper also talked about developing a personal brand and self-marketing.

“Your name is the most powerful thing you own,” he told the students.

Harper used entertaining and inspiring anecdotes to illustrate his points. He told the story of one student from a small town who asked him to speak at his school. That student now has a job offer from one of the top 15 accounting firms in the country.

“Regardless of circumstances, the materials they have inside of themselves, they have the raw material. It’s there if they will allow the school, parents, community the opportunity to help develop that through experiences, through their education,” Harper said.

Harper has 15 years of experience in corporate America and has spoken to 350,000 students, educators and parents across the country, according to his website.

After the presentation, students asked questions like what was Harper’s first job, what was his favorite thing to do and whether he had a Snapchat account.

“What an inspiring talk for our students that are here with us today and a reminder that we all possess those skills that will lead us to success,” Principal Tonya Brinegar-German said.

Harper said he ultimately wanted to give the students hope for the future.

“There’s so much discouragement in the world,” Harper said. “What I’m trying to do is bring some encouragement.”

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-787-4222.

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