December 3, 2008 Edition

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Members of the Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Program Class 14 graduated from the program recently.They include (front, from left): Allie Harris, Hillcrest; Amanda Holland, Sloan-Hendrix; Amber Lamb, Black Rock; Shayla Coats, Hoxie; Hannah Rowsey and Kara Morris, Sloan-Hendrix, Trisha Glenn, Hillcrest; (back) Phillip Cook, guest speaker; Chasity Becker, Hoxie; Katelyn Hammock, Hillcrest; John-Scott Kelley and Luke Holloway, Walnut Ridge; Nikolos Ryan, Hoxie; Alivia Hackworth, Walnut Ridge; Ashley Stallings, Black Rock; Dr. Ralph Joseph, program founder; and (not pictured) Brandon Gray, Black Rock.

RJYLP Class 14 completes program

Fifteen youth representing the four school districts in the county completed the Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Program, an eight-session program, with graduation on Nov. 23.

This program covers community assessment, communication, leadership ropes course, etiquette, personality assessment, decision making, project reports and cultural diversity. They also completed a community service project during the program.

Tashena Tate, co-chair of the program, gave the welcome and explained the program is the result of Dr. Ralph Joseph identifying a need in the community ~ a need to train youth to be good leaders and donate back to their communities.

Dr. Joseph, along with others, donates funds each year and a committee of volunteers conducts the program. The group then recognized Dr. and Mrs. Joseph.

Other guests recognized were Shirley Murphy of the Lawrence Health Foundation; Junior Briner, chairman of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board and Leadership Lawrence County Alumni Association; Supt. Mike Holland of Sloan-Hendrix School and Principal Tim Ryan of Hoxie School; Mark May and Phillip Cook. Past graduates present were Cassie Glenn of Class 10 and Amber Glenn of Class 13.

The head table was accented with beautiful ferns and begonias furnished by Binkley Greenhouses.

John Thomison, committee member, introduced Phillip Cook, a graduate of RJYL Class 2 and recipient of the scholarship. Cook told the graduates to be thinkers, march to their own drum and not someone else's, and to lead their own life, be a leader and set the example.

He then shared the Robert Frost poem, "The Road Not Taken." He challenged them to embrace change for all the right reasons.

Lila Floyd, co-chair, recognized the Community Service Award winners for 2008. The award went to Amanda Holland, Kara Morris and Hannah Rowsey of Sloan-Hendrix High School for their mentoring program for seventh grade girls.

The three, along with the 12 seventh-grade students, walked to raise money for Autism, picked up trash and spent time together.

Other projects were recycling of aluminum cans and plastic drink bottles on campus; mentoring three elementary students with the "Big Brother/Big Sister" positive role model concept; proper nutrition program for fourth grade students; and preparing gift packs for seniors at a local apartment complex and spending time with them.

Martha May, Lawrence County Extension Agent ~ Staff Chair, compiled a presentation of the class highlights, which were reviewed by Gail Clark.

Tim Taylor, committee member, with the assistance of Shirley Murphy, Lawrence Health Foundation, named Nikolos Ryan from Hoxie School as recipient of the $1,000 Lawrence Health Foundation scholarship, which is presented in honor of Dr. Joseph. Ryan will receive the money to attend an Arkansas institute of higher education upon graduation from high school.

Tate presented the graduates their graduation certificates. Each member of Class 14 gave a response as to how they benefited individually by being a part of the program.

The youth leadership program is made possible through the generous support of Dr. Ralph Joseph; Lawrence Health Foundation; Wal-Mart; Paul and Helen Doty; Larry Sloan; Robert Bosch Tool Corp.; Ag Heritage Farm Credit Services; Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Extension Lawrence County; Lawrence County's school districts; Lawrence County Department of Human Services; and Leadership Lawrence County Alumni Association.

Besides the monetary donations, many individuals donate time and expertise to teach the classes, prepare the notebooks, share meeting space, etc. Thanks goes to Daina Witt, Judy Videll, Melinda Smith, Mrs. David Smith, Sue Wilson, Binkley Greenhouses and Powhatan City Council for their assistance.

To find out more about the Youth Leadership Program contact the County Extension Office at 886-3741 or any graduate or committee member.

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