The Louis August Jonas Foundation is pleased to report that Lungile Msomi, Oarabile Ndlovu and Tefo Matlhabegoane, have successfully completed the highly selective and demanding 7-week Rising Sun international summer program in leadership. Established in 1930 and in operation for 80 years, the Rising Sun program develops in promising teenagers, ages 14-16 from around the globe, a commitment to making positive contributions to their communities and the world through sensitive, responsible leadership, intellectual and artistic growth, valuing diversity and developing a spirit of giving.
Founded by George E. Jonas, the Louis August Jonas Foundation selects up to 60 boys and 60 girls each year from around the United States and the world, to attend a full-scholarship summer program on separate boys’ and girls’ campuses in Rhinebeck, New York. Different students assume positions of leadership each day and, with some guidance from a member of the staff, run the daily operations. Students determine the schedule, assign work responsibilities, plan the meals, oversee the activities, account for the whereabouts of all participants at all times, respond to unplanned occurrences, develop special events, etc.
A typical day includes student- and staff-led instructions, projects, an evening program and self-structured activities during which students may participate in athletics, practice music, play chess, read, talk with their fellow participants, write in their journals, continue their work on an instruction or project or develop an idea for an evening program. In addition to the typical activities, the students publish a weekly newspaper, choose and perform a mid-summer theatrical production, experience a 3-4 day overnight hike away from campus, enjoy an all-day arts event, attend a concert or opera and participate in traditional program celebrations.
Among the highlights of this program is the opportunity to meet and come to know teenagers from 15 different states in the U.S. and 28 different nations of the world. Program participants sleep in tents with three to four others and take all their meals at the same time. Tent and dining hall table assignments change regularly to maximize the opportunity for participants to get to know one another. As remarkable as their cultural, experiential and geographical differences are, even more striking is how similar are their family values, love of learning and adolescent experiences and interests.
Program alumni report that they learn, at Rising Sun, that they are capable of implementing their ideas and making a difference in their communities. They value most the connections they make with their fellow program participants and form friendships that endure for decades.
Lungile Msomi, Oarabile Ndlovu and Tefo Matlhabegoane were stellar program participants who, we predict, will take the lessons from the Rising Sun program and have an impact in school, college and beyond as leaders, thinkers and agents of positive change.
Judith R. Fox, Executive Director