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August 24, 2010 > Louis "Steel Bill" Burnette leads the way

Louis "Steel Bill" Burnette leads the way

By Miriam G. Mazliach

Photo by Miriam G. Mazliach

Louis "Steel Bill" Burnette is a loquacious 11-year-old who will be entering 6th grade this fall. Although Steel Bill's interests and talents are varied, his main focus right now is raising funds to help cover the expense of a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JNYLC).

Although a resident of Fremont, Louis attends the E.C. Reems public charter school in Oakland.

Last year, his fifth grade teacher, Dr. DeTrice Rodgers, felt that Louis was doing really well in school and nominated him and several other students for JNYLC.

"Louis would be an asset to the leadership team because he is willing to learn and lead by example. He has the determination, persistence, and will to achieve his full potential," says Dr. Rodgers.

Asked what qualities he thinks are important in a leader Louis responds, "A leader has to listen to his audience, give his opinions and watch his surroundings. He needs to say the right things and lead his people in the right way."

Just the manner in which Louis expresses himself makes him appear more mature than his years. "A lot of people say that I'm an old soul," he says.

Louis has visited Washington, D.C. before with his father and was enthralled by the museums and Howard University, a historic African-American college. So he is excited about the prospect of returning to the area.

Three other students from his school plan to attend the six day conference in November, which will have a variety of activities for the students as well as guest speakers, many of whom are influential in their fields.

These conferences are a wonderful opportunity for 6th and 7th graders to meet other students from all over the nation who have a commitment to excellence and an interest in enhancing their leadership skills.

The trip is expensive, almost $2,000 per student. Tuition includes all housing, program materials, breakfasts, lunches (with the exception of arrival and departure days) and dinners.

Students will be participating in leadership focus groups, a walking tour of Capitol Hill, traveling to Harper's Ferry in West Virginia, touring some of the nation's monuments, visiting the White House, and a learning adventure at the Maryland Space Center.

The idea of Louis attending JNYLC started when a car chase outside E.C. Reems School created a disruption. Students decided to organize, and working with the support of the Oakland Police Department held a rally to pass a noise ordinance. Louis was chosen to speak at that public gathering and his teacher thought he exhibited outstanding leadership qualities.

"This is a great accomplishment. I am very proud of my nomination. Throughout the school year I have displayed my leadership skills and maintained my academics, too. Students from all across the nation are nominated and I am proud to be one of them," says Louis.

Louis is a busy young man and has other interests. He sings "positive rap" and is known as "Steel Bill" when performing. He first began by recording on his mom's phone and then produced his first studio recording in Atlanta when he was seven years old. Louis just recently "dropped" his new CD, which includes his favorite song, "If I were President."

Louis also enjoys boxing. He has been training for about four years and currently practices at the Straight Forward Boxing Club in San Francisco. Louis has won trophies as the Junior State Champion of Georgia, a Police Athletic League award, and the Junior Golden Gloves in California. He is the current 2009 Desert Showdown Champion from Palm Springs.

"Louis is a scholar, a children's world-class fighter, and a musician," says his proud dad, Shabazz Hilton Brazill.

"I want to grow up and change our community. This opportunity is great for me and it is a step in the right direction of where I am trying to go," says Louis. "The trip to D.C. will cost a lot of money and I am asking the community to help me get there. Any type of donation will help and be appreciated."

The public can donate by going to any Citibank and donating into account number 40057848521.

To contact Louis "Steel Bill" Burnette visit: Myspace.com/SteelyBilly
Website for Junior National Young Leaders Conference: www.cylc.org/JrNYLC

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