Community Education News

17 graduate YLA

Future leaders encouraged to ‘be bold, bring down barriers’

News Staff Writer

Seventeen area high school juniors finished Youth Leadership Atmore with a graduation ceremony and reception Sunday, April 29.
Graduates are Joshua Banks, Logan Chavers; Bailey Hayles, president; Anna Grace Janes, treasurer; Christiara Jones; Sam Martin; Jasmine Rivers; Johnika Roberts, vice president; Sara Rolin; Mar’Daizah Salter; Emma Caroline Sasser; Valen Shelly; Arianna Silar; Olivia Simmons, secretary; Lydia Smith; Adonis Williams; Lue Williams.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Emily Harp addressed the class about the Chamber Ambassador program for which they are eligible as seniors.
Harp plans to make changes to the program. One is to have a scholarship associated with it so that Ambassadors are “working for your tomorrow.”
The Rev. Gene King, Grace Fellowship, was keynote speaker. He congratulated the “future leaders” in the room and said he hoped they had a better appreciation for Atmore.
Rev. King talked about the essence of leadership – to motivate others, strong values and clear vision, influence, trust, servanthood.
He suggested that Jesus should be the model for leadership through His servanthood.
On a recent trip to India he saw leadership lived out in service, perseverance and humility.
“Lead on to a better future for the people you are leading,” he told the Class of 2018. “Be bold. Bring down barriers. Live out servanthood and sacrifice.”
Mayor Jim Staff contrasted the graduation to an event he attended the night before.
“Last night I attended the Hall of Fame induction ceremony,” he said. “This is where you’re starting and they’re finishing.”
Members of the YLA Steering Committee are Cecilia Harrison, chairwoman; Lesley Harrison, treasurer; Mallorie Beachy; Kristen Gehman; Brooke Marsh; Matt Rabren.

YLA graduates, from left, front, Johnika Roberts, Valen Shelly, Lydia Smith, Bailey Hayles, Sara Rolin, Anna Grace Janes, Jasmine Rivers, Olivia Simmons, and Arianna Silar; back, Christiara Jones, Logan Chavers, Sam Martin, Emma Caroline Sasser, Mar’Daizah Salter, Lue Williams, Joshua Banks, and Adonis Williams.
YLA Steering Committee and guests, from left, Cecilia Harrison, Lesley Harrison, Kristen Gehman, Matt Rabren, Rev. Gene King, Mayor Jim Staff

News photos by Sherry Digmon