Archived Story

RUFF conducts ‘Learn Educate Appreciate Develop’ conference

Published 11:36am Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Ready yoUrself For the Future (RUFF) organization recently conducted its third annual leadership conference, “Learn Educate Appreciate Develop.”

RUFF's "Learn Educate Appreciate Develop." conference drew 122 students, parents and teachers. (CONTRIBUTED)

Discovery Middle School hosted the event on Jan. 25. The conference attracted 103 male students, 17 parents and two teachers.

“The purpose of the leadership conference is to allow the young men of our program to meet and greet with community leaders. One of our critical focus areas is to expose our young men with tangible role models, and this is one way to do that,” RUFF founder and sponsor Anthony Graham said.

Graham teaches seventh- and eighth-grade math at Discovery.

RUFF engenders leadership and lends support to boys in Madison City Schools. The first group organized at Heritage Elementary School in 2010, and RUFF since has spread its work to other campuses.

“Learn Educate Appreciate Develop” opened with a pizza dinner. After the opening ceremony, the boys attended breakout sessions to meet and listen to community leaders.

The roster of speakers included Welsey Malone, Brandon Johnson, Bill Weaver, firefighters with Madison Fire and Rescue Department, Mike Kridner, Frank Herring, Seth Parker, Trey Bankhead, Matthew Herrell, Dan Hartman, Rodney Penneywell and Lorenzo Moore.

Dave Bowman was guest speaker.

Domino’s Pizza at 437 Hughes Road supplied 25 pizzas. “The Semper Fi Task Force gave $300 for food and door prizes,” Graham said.

“It was an exciting night filled with character talks from local business men and great leadership from local high school students,” Graham said.

In recent service work, RUFF held a Christmas party with youth at the Boys & Girls Club in Triana and presented the center director with a check for $250.

For more information, email to or visit Facebook/Ready yoUrself For the Future.

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