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Youth Leadership class graduates after pandemic-induced holdup

Eighteen students from public and private schools across Dallas County filed into the Commissioner’s Chambers at the Dallas County Courthouse on Wednesday morning to celebrate completing the Dallas County Youth Leadership Program.

The group of young citizens to graduate Wednesday are the 23rd group to do so.

The Dallas County Youth Leadership Program is nearly identical to the Dallas County Leadership Program for adults, which is only three older than the youth program.

Throughout the year-long program, which began Aug. 2019, participating students had the opportunity to bond with and learn about one another over a weekend retreat, learn about the industries that serve as Dallas County’s backbone and examine the inner workings of local government.

According to program coordinator Callie Nelson, the students were scheduled to graduate from the program in May, but were held up by COVID-19.
Nelson welcomed the 18 students to the ceremony on Wednesday and congratulated all of them on the progress they made over the past year in developing leadership skills.

Following Nelson’s remarks, each participating student was asked to stand before everyone gathered in the Commissioner’s Chambers and share their Youth Leadership experience.

Though each student shared a unique story about their time in the program nearly each one of them said that the program taught them about all of the assets and resources that Dallas County has to offer.

After each student shared their experience, Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn took to the podium as the ceremony’s guest speaker.

Nunn opined that he was happy to hear that the experiences the students had opened their eyes to everything Dallas County has to offer.

“Now, go forth and be and asset to Dallas County and to Alabama,” he said.

The students to graduate from the 23rd Dallas County Youth Leadership Program are: Eric J. Brown, Jo’Niya Chapman, McKinley Fuller, Antoine Hasberry, Jasmine Jackson, Mart’Chavious Johnson, Mary Carolyn Jones, Hannah Lightfoot, Kirstie Morgan, Hunter Nichols, Mary Ann Ousley, Amaya Pritchett, Maria Redd, Kristin Smith, Elaina Wilkinson Jamiah Williams, Abrielle Wright and Maggie Youngblood.