Future leaders at Davis Emerson Middle School competed against one another while developing professional skills and learning the value of a firm handshake.Davis Emerson Middle School participated in the Amazing Shake, a national competition that focuses on the importance of professionalism, manners, discipline and respect. Tashara Smith King, the principal of Davis Emerson Middle, said they want to ensure students are ready for their future and understand the importance of soft skills.“Here with the Tuscaloosa County School System, we want to make sure our students are college and career ready,” King said. “So, making sure that they know those soft skills, firm handshake when it comes to an interview, looking the interviewer in their eyes. Overall, critical thinking, problem solving and just working on those soft skills.”The seventh graders were put into teams and were tested on their critical thinking, interviewing and robotic skills. King said the goal of the program was to help students take steps outside their comfort zones while growing their leadership skills. After watching how the students performed throughout the competition, she called it a success.“We work with our friends and it’s all for just one common goal and it’s just really fun,” Angel Gomez, a student, said.At the end of the competition, two winners were announced. These students will advance to the Amazing Shake National Competition, held in Atlanta this February, where they will represent their school.