Youth Leadership Oak Ridge, a program of the Center for Leadership and Community Development, an affiliated organization of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, recently celebrated a graduation ceremony for its 2018/2019 class. The celebration was held at the Doubletree by Hilton and was sponsored by UCOR. Mr. Gene Patterson of Consolidated Nuclear Security offered the keynote speech.
Youth Leadership Oak Ridge was started as the community project of the 2009 Leadership Oak Ridge class. Patterned after the adult program, but revised to reflect the interests of high school students, the program has just completed its ninth year.
The class met most Wednesdays after school during the school year and covered topics related to Personal Skills Development, Entrepreneurship, Government, and Quality of Life. Each area of focus provided for interactive activities as well as advice and guidance from experts in those areas.
As a part of the government area, the class traveled to Nashville in April while the state legislature was in session to get a first-hand view of how the state government functions. The group participated in a Mock Legislative Session when they debate an issue following legislative procedures. In addition, the students toured the Tennessee State Museum, observed committee meetings and participated in team building activities to enhance their problem solving skills. A highlight of the Nashville trip was the opportunity to talk and have a photo made with Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Governor Randy McNally, Representative John Ragan and Representative Kent Calfee. In addition the group toured Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans and the impressive Tennessee College of Applied Technology campus at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. The trip to Nashville was sponsored by UCOR and SouthEast Equipment Sales.
Other highlights of the program include: the development of a business plan that they present via Shark Tank style; an Amazing Race activity to learn about Oak Ridge’s quality of life; activities to enhance their public speaking and networking skills, and learning about their own leadership/team tendencies by taking the DiSC assessment. The Shark Tank activity was sponsored by R&R Properties.
This year’s graduates are: Aanhar Ajaz, Corrine Bailey, Caroline Benton, Marcus Cacheiro, Audrey Chrisman, Aamariah Crow, Ty Dahl, Will Dallas, Avigail Duke, Katelynn Jackson, Miles Jackson, Jessica Jacyno, Elizabeth Lowman, Ben Martin, Mack Patrick, Merritt Philpot, Travis Pitts, Klara Proffen, Ashley Riikola, Veda Seay, Mollie Smith, Christina Thomas, Anna Turner, Isaiah Wilder, Clay Williams and Makenzie Zawisza.
Each year the Youth Leadership students nominate and vote on the Oak Ridge High School teachers and administrators who have had the greatest impact on them. Those teachers and administrators are invited to the graduation dinner to be recognized and thanked by the students. This year’s class honored Mr. Tom Sauer, Mr. Ken Senter, Ms. Jessica Williams, Mr. Aaron Pickering and Ms. Beth Estep.
Students that participate in the program as juniors have the opportunity to be selected to serve on the Youth Leadership Oak Ridge Council their senior year of high school. Council members are able to expand their experiences by assisting in the planning of sessions and promoting the program. The council members for the 2018/2019 program were: Alex Greenhalgh, Manshi Patel, Monica Porter, Steven Qu, Alex Schenk, Paulina Urbanowicz and Eagle Yuan.
Oak Ridge High School students apply to participate in Youth Leadership Oak Ridge. Each applicant is nominated by a teacher, coach, school administrator, business professional, or other leader in the community. Nominations and applications are now being accepted for the 2019/2020 program that will start in September. Participation is limited. For more information about the program, contact the program director Yvette Cantrell via firstname.lastname@example.org or Greta Ownby (email@example.com or 865-483-1321).
The mission of Youth Leadership Oak Ridge is to impart practical leadership lessons to Oak Ridge High School student that have shown leadership potential and possess a potential to advance leadership and communication skills. By socializing and enforcing the value and merit of leadership to our community’s future leaders the Youth Leadership program will develop future business and community leaders that will bear fruit for the community now and in the future.