GALLERY: CCYL graduates 32 juniors from third class

Published 2:45 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

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The Covington County Youth Leadership program recognized its 2023-2024 class during a graduation luncheon held in the LBW Community College Seth Hammett Gymnasium on Wednesday, May 1.

A total of 32 juniors from all six high schools in Covington County received certificates at the ceremony, which completed its third year.

“It’s a great privilege to be part of a community that is so dedicated to building up young leaders. CCYL has a lot of local support, and we could not run a program like this without it. I’m excited to see what’s next for these kids. I have no doubt they will do great things,” Program Coordinator Dr. Terri Dunn said.

Students must attend all program sessions and cannot miss more than the equivalent of two sessions in order to receive a certification of graduation from the CCYL program. Each participant is required to complete a community service project selected by the committee. The community service project for 2023-2024 focused on character education for upcoming middle schoolers.

Students met once a month over the school year on Wednesdays and participated in several leadership sessions. Those sessions include team building, community resources, state and local government, agriculture and industry, healthcare, economic development, community service, etiquette, and communication skills.

“More than 50 men and women have met with our group over the last nine months. Through those meetings, presentations, industry and educational tours, these young men and women have learned about opportunities to work and serve locally or wherever life takes them. If they did not know already, they now know that Covington County has a lot to offer them,” Dunn said.

LBW Community College President Dr. Brock Kelley welcomed those in attendance to the ceremony before Dunn gave an overview of the program and introduced the eight class officers for this year.

Orrin Douglas served as the 2023-2024 CCYL chair, and Ada Blackstock was the vice chair. Arina Thai was the community service project coordinator, and Audrey Ward served as the historian. Kayden Lord was the social media chair, and Mallory Hall oversaw public relations. Madie Wilson was the travel coordinator, and Elizabeth Carroll was the prayer coordinator.

Ward led the class and crowd into the Pledge of Allegiance, and Carroll spoke the invocation.

Andalusia High School’s 2023-2024 graduates are Will Dalton, Graycie Sansom, and Nathan Shellhouse.

Florala High School’s 2023-2024 graduates are Ava Blocker, Nathan Cook, Jayla Davis, Gracie McNeill, and Skylar Quincey.

Opp High School’s 2023-2024 graduates are Ada Blackstock, Jay’Marcus Head, Addison Moseley, Jaycee Williams, and Madie Wilson.

Pleasant Home School’s 2023-2024 graduates are Jackson Hawkins, Taylor Lawson, Era Grace Lowry, and Sara Catherine Sansom.

Red Level School’s 2023-2024 graduates are Kenzie Barnes, Elizabeth Carroll, Bailey Green, Buddy Griffin, Makenna Harrelson, Kayden Lord, and Victoria Walker.

Straughn High School’s 2023-2024 graduates are Emiley Faith Bush, Orrin Douglas, Hallie Goodman, Mallory Hall, Christian Pate, Mari Rolling, Arina Thai, and Audrey Ward.

Session one focused on orientation and team building at Blue Lake Methodist Camp and was coordinated by First Baptist Church of Andalusia Associate Pastor to Students and Children William Worley.

Session two highlighted local government, which included the Covington County Commission, Covington County Sheriff, the Covington County Probate Office, Revenue Commissioner, City of Andalusia, and Lost Pizza. Commission Chairman Greg White and City of Andalusia Communications Director Michele Gerlach were the session coordinators.

Session three consisted of agriculture and industry, which included the Conecuh National Forest and USDA Forest Service, Covington County Gin, poultry farming, PowerSouth Central Generation, and Shaw Industries. Covington County Extension Office 4-H Coordinator Katie Lee coordinated the agriculture component. Covington Electric Director of Public Relations Patty Singleton-Seay oversaw the industry session.

Session four sent the class to the Ozark Civic Center for the Wiregrass Power of YOUth Leadership Forum. Topics at the forum ranged from economic development, interview skills, and team building to networking and resume writing.

Session five highlighted several STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) topics. South Alabama Regional Airport Executive Director Jed Blackwell was the session coordinator.

Session six detailed healthcare and careers in the field, which included Mizell Memorial Hospital, LBWCC staff, Dr. Josh Driver, and Blissful Healthcare Owner Sheena Buckelew. Katie King and Tori Norris of LBWCC conducted mock interviews, while Shannon Jackson of Southeast Gas taught interview skills. Jackson and King served as session coordinators.

Session seven focused on etiquette and communication skills. The class learned a number of topics such as social etiquette, first impressions, a review of the session and graduation planning, and also participated in a photo scavenger hunt. Lee and Dunn were the session coordinators for the penultimate session.

Session eight consisted of state government and took the class to the Alabama State House in Montgomery. There, they met with State Sen. Josh Carnley and State Rep. Matthew Hammett. Dunn was the session coordinator for the final session of the year.

The mission of the Covington County Youth Leadership Program is to prepare students to take active leadership roles in their homes, schools, and communities. Eligibility is limited to high school juniors within Covington County, who are at least 15 years of age and have a “C” average or better. Applications for the next class of CCYL participants will be available in August.

For more information about the program email or visit the Covington County Youth Leadership Facebook page.