Celebrities visit local high schools for workshops

More than 3,000 Beaufort County high school students – every sophomore and junior in the district – will learn about leadership and building a stronger sense of self this week when the 2015 Live Sonima Tour rolled into town.

In collaboration with the Sonima Foundation, this highly touted tour is an interactive multimedia event that encourages students to become self-starters and lifelong learners by taking advantage of their unique talents and skills. The hosts are best-selling author and leadership expert Stedman Graham and singer-songwriter Caroline Jones.

Beaufort County is the second stop for the 2015 Live Sonima Tour, which began recently in Memphis. The tour will stop at 12 cities and reach approximately 65,000 high school students at 100 different schools.

“The Live Sonima Tour generally appears in much larger markets, so to have them here is quite a feather in Beaufort County’s cap,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “They have a powerful message, not just for students but also for parents and teachers and community members at the evening workshops.”

The two-part program at Beaufort County high schools will feature a mix of Jones’ acoustic music performances and her inspirational storytelling sessions, which urge students to pursue their talents and passions. That will be followed by Graham’s workshop.

“We are telling the kids that we know you have all this information, we know you’re overwhelmed and stressed and that you have people telling you what to do,” Graham said in a recent interview. “It all comes down to having a stronger sense of identity. What we are trying to do is keep you focused on who you are and help you organize all of the things that are happening in your life.”

In addition to the school events aimed at students, there also will be a free workshop open to parents, teachers and community members. Tonight, from 6-8 p.m. at Beaufort High, Graham will explain how successful communities are built on successful individuals. Participants will be challenged to identify strengths, talents and resources they can develop within themselves.

Graham is the author of 11 books, including two New York Times bestsellers. Jones is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, radio show host, author and founder of The Heart is Smart Initiative, a curriculum and school tour that works to inspire and provide students a medium of expression through music.

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