Parrish teen accepted to elite FBI Youth Program
by Melanie Patterson
May 09, 2012 | 3339 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Josiah Robinson
Josiah Robinson
A Parrish teen is working to take leadership to a new level.

Josiah Robinson is part of an elite group of students across the nation selected to attend the FBI National Academy Youth Leadership Program.

Robinson, a tenth-grader, is scheduled to attend the program at the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Va., in June.

Cpt. Jeff Hartley of the Tuscaloosa Police Department and an FBI National Academy graduate said Robinson stood out from among the 16 candidates who applied in Alabama. Hartley is a Youth Leadership Program committee member.

“He really is impressive,” Hartley said. “He was just outstanding. You get the feeling he wants to do more with his life.”

Students who attend the program must be 14, 15 or 16 years old. They must have exemplary academic scores and proven leadership skills.

“Obviously, they look for more in their academics than book learning,” Hartley said. “They have to participate in community activities where they demonstrate their leadership abilities. Partici-pation outside of school speaks volumes about them.”

Parrish High School principal Eric Smith said Robinson easily fits into that category.

“Josiah is a great student and a great role model,” Smith said. “He has a very bright future ahead of him. He will be successful no matter what direction he takes.”

At school, Robinson is a Student Government Association representative for his class and has previously served as vice president and president of the association.

He is also co-chairman of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, along with Cason Taylor, and is a low brass section leader in band.

Participants in the Youth Leadership Program are not required to have plans to pursue a career in law enforcement, but they must express an interest in learning about criminal justice system in the U.S., according to Hartley.

“It’s not geared to law enforcement as much as it is to leadership,” he said.

Robinson is still weighing his career options, but one thing does seem to come naturally to him — he is a leader.

“I really like to be up front and lead others. I’ve always had a tendency to organize,” he said, adding that he puts forth an effort to not “overpower” other people. “My mother and father have built me up from a very young age to be bold and to stand up for what I believe in.”

Normally, each state sends one individual to the program, but this year Alabama will send two. The other student is Mary Grace Roden of Cullman High School.

“We interviewed 16 young people that are absolutely the cream of the crop. It was hard for us to decide on just one,” Hartley said.

The FBI provides tuition and lodging for the week-long program. Each FBI National Academy chapter pays its’ students’ travel expenses.