Four LCHS students accepted as Emerging Leaders

TheLink Alliance and USC-Sumter launch second year of program

Four of the 22 high school juniors from Lee Central, Crestwood and Sumter high schools have been accepted into The Ross McKenzie Emerging Leaders Program sponsored by TheLINK Regional Economic Development Alliance and the University of South Carolina (Sumter). Emanuelle Amonta Cain, Tomas Rojas Cortez, Tauzhanee Deavion Spann and Semaj Kwmae Woods have been accepted into the year-round leadership experience which introduces concepts in economic and community development through monthly interactive gatherings.

In its second year, the program is designed to bolster soft skills and self–awareness in a professional environment, says Erika D. Williams, manager of communications and strategic initiatives at TheLINK.

“Its (premise) is to get students acclimated with what we have in our region. The sessions will be held in Sumter and Lee County as well,” says Williams. “The best way to create a generation of leaders is to allow them to lead so that things can happen through them and not to them.”

Orientation for the students and their parents will be held Aug. 5 and 6. A reception kickoff will be held at the Arts and Letters Building on the campus of the University of South Carolina (Sumter).

For additional information about the program, contact Williams at 803.464.8880 or


About Ross Scott McKenzie

The namesake of the program was born on May 26, 1915 in Congaree, S.C. Upon graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1936 and serving as a Naval Officer in WWII, Ross returned to Sumter where he worked at Southern Coatings for the remainder of his career, eventually becoming President of the company. Ross played a vital role in the community and ardently promoted the Sumter County Museum. He was a lifelong member of the Sumter Rotary Club where he was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow. He served as chairman of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Covenant Place Founding Board, Sumter County Historical Society, Central Carolina Technical Foundation Board and the Fortnightly Club.