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Junior Rotarians learn about leadership

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Anderson University President John Pistole, who formerly served in a leadership role with the FBI, discusses qualities of a true leader with the New Castle Rotary Club and junior Rotarians at the library Wednesday.
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New Castle High School students were presented certificates Wednesday for serving as “Junior Rotarians.” The presentations came at the special New Castle Rotary Club meeting and lunch, held in the library. Pictured, front row l-r are: Jim Cole, Rotary sponsor; Carmela Lopezfilio, Lilly Garvin, Allison DeVier, Ashlyn Hurley, Cassandra Criswell and Grace Lewis. Row 2: New Castle School Supt. Matt Shoemaker, Tapanga Leary, Caleb Kundert, Corbin Pope, Ben Brock and Karen Bimber, head of the NCHS counseling department. Row 3: Oliver Tompkins, Spencer Stewart, Brandon Thompson, YMCACEO Chris Williams, NCHS Principal Kirk Amman and Dr. John Pistole, president of Anderson University.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Great leaders “know the way, go the way and show the way.”

Anderson University President John Pistole said those words to both New Castle Rotary Club members and a group of New Castle High School students Wednesday afternoon as he challenged them to use their leadership skills for good.

“You are a leader, whether you think of yourself as one or not,” Pistole said. “Leadership is not necessarily about title or position.”

Judging by his resume and the company he has kept, Pistole certainly knew a thing or two about leadership. He is former administrator of the United States Transportation Security Administration and a former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

His appearance in New Castle came just a day before the much-anticipated release of the Muller Report, detailing counterintelligence investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

“Robert Mueller is someone I think of as a leader because I worked with him so closely and because of the hard choices he’s had to make, regardless of politics,” Pistole said. “His hard work, discipline and integrity are three hallmarks of leadership. The ability to make decisions regardless of – and perhaps in spite of – public pressure.”

While the Mueller report was reportedly more than 300 pages long, Pistole said three words could summarize the goal for the Junior Rotarians – distinctive, compelling and relevant.

“Think about how you can be distinctive,” Pistole said, “how you can be compelling and how you can be relevant to those around you, how you can be a true role model.”

True role models, Pistole emphasized, are both knowledgeable and helpful. They also are consistent in getting back with people.

“Being responsible and accountable, those are things people appreciate,” Pistole said.

The Rotary Club’s Junior Rotarian program has provided New Castle students with an introduction into the business world for more than 50 years now. Selected students each attend two Rotary Club meetings and are introduced to business leaders in the community. 

“I think this is a good program,” long-time Rotary Club member Jim Cole said. “The Rotarians get a break, because they get to talk with the kids about things going on in school that normally they don’t come in contact with and the kids get a break, because they get to associate themselves with people that during their normal work day they don’t get to talk to – doctors, lawyers and other professionals in the community. It’s a good program for both.”

Students say they have more than enjoyed the experience.

“I’ve learned some valuable social skills and how to present myself,” Junior Rotarian Corbin Pope said.