Clarksville, TN – Clarksville resident, Joseph Harding, has accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point after his May 28th graduation. Harding, 19, son of Damien and Ursula. Harding, was nominated for the appointment by Lieutenant Colonel Chandler.
“My first impression of Joseph was that he was very quiet and mannerable, but lacked confidence and direction. As he began to develop a sense of purpose, he emerged as a well-rounded respected leader amongst his peers. I am extremely proud of Joseph for not only daring to aspire to become President someday, but for developing a realistic plan to achieve that goal. His acceptance into West Point speaks volumes about the potential that I have witnessed firsthand,” expressed LEAP Executive Director, Richard Reason Garrett.Harding will join other family members in military services as his mother and father served in the United States Army. As a former student of Rossview High School, this outstanding senior is a member of the JROTC, Drill Team, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, National Technical Honor Society, Interact Club, Special Olympics, Distributive Education (DECA), Sign Language Organization, and President of the LEAP Youth Leadership Council.
Joseph states that his favorite subjects are math and history because he loves the complex calculations and the challenges involved in solving problems that stimulate his brain. Learning history, has spurred a new career interest for Joseph as he is now included serving in politics as a future career goal.
Joseph developed an interest in participating in LEAP while driving his sister to participate Healthy Choices Intervention Program. He joined LEAP and helped developed a series of community services projects, fundraisers, and helped coordinate the youth annual trip to New York City. Joseph learned that he is a natural leader and able to organize events and move people to action.
Richard arranged two lunch meetings with State Representatives Jay Reedy and Joe Pitts to share insights into what being a public servant entails. The vote of confidence that he garnered from the team at LEAP helped motivate him to desire to serve as a future state representative, senator, or even Commander in Chief.
LEAP selects participants based on court appointment as a diversion from placement in the juvenile system. Other participants elect to join LEAP to enhance their social skills, obtain clinical training, and learn from the Career Readiness Program. LEAP has helped over 1100 youth since its inception in 2009. 87% of participants no longer engage in controlled substances, over 75% did not re-offend, and 55% obtained employment after completing the Career Readiness Program.