December 01, 2010 Edition

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The most recent graduates of the Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Program are (front, from left): Bridget Russell, Hoxie; Tayler Ginn, Walnut Ridge; Sara Roby, Black Rock; Ashley Roacho, Walnut Ridge; Sarah Penn, Black Rock; Sarah Saffell and Elizabeth Rush, Hillcrest; (back) Morgan Smith and Brooke Pinkus, Sloan-Hendrix; Jeri Poole, Walnut Ridge; Danielle Black, Hoxie; Jason Harper, Black Rock; Joshua Shaw, Hillcrest; Rachael Ditto, Hoxie; Paige Ratliff, Sloan-Hendrix; Dr. Ralph Joseph and Dr. Aaron Murphy, speaker.

Graduation held for Ralph
Joseph Youth Leadership Class

Fifteen youth representing the five high school campuses in Lawrence County completed the eight-session Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Program with graduation on Nov. 21.

The program covers community assessment, communications, leadership ropes course, etiquette, personality assessment, decision making, project reports and cultural diversity. Participants were also required to complete a community service project during the program.

Veronica Manning, chairman 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 and others donate funds each year, and a committee of volunteers conduct the program. Dr. Joseph and his wife, Billie, were recognized. Other guests recognized were Shirley Murphy, Lawrence Health Foundation executive director; Junior Briner, Leadership Lawrence Alumni Association president; and Dr. Aaron Murphy, DDS, guest speaker.

John Thomison, committee member, introduced Dr. Murphy, who is a graduate of RJYLP Class 1. Dr. Murphy shared with the graduates that they were selected for the program because of their good grades, leadership potential and reputation.

He told the class they would utilize the subject matter from all the sessions in their life and the information would assist them in making life-changing decisions.

He shared four points: 1. Enjoy time left in high school and college but take grades seriously; 2. In everything you do keep good morals and be an honest person; 3. Don't get in a hurry to get married - take time to find your lifelong spouse; and 4. Don't get tunnel vision on a career - keep options open for the big picture.

S-H group wins service award

Lila Floyd, committee member, recognized the Community Service Award winners for 2010. They are Brooke Pinkus, Paige Ratliff and Morgan Smith of Sloan-Hendrix School. Their project included a mentoring assembly with follow-up sessions for fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students. In addition, they were recognized for going above and beyond by also painting the baseball and softball dugouts.

Other projects included Black Rock participants Justin Harper, Sarah Penn and Sara Roby making their campus a safer place for students, faculty, staff and patrons by painting crosswalks, bus parking lanes and zebra hooves to the gym.

Hoxie participants Danielle Black, Rachael Ditto and Bridget Russell selected improving the appearance of the campus by raising $393 to plant trees and flowers, painting horse hooves to the school and picking up trash on campus.

Walnut Ridge students Tayler Ginn, Jeri Poole and Ashley Roacho chose to improve the re-asphalted playground of the elementary school by painting hop-scotch, four square, basketball lines and lots of colorful flowers for the kindergarten through fourth-grade students and the community who also utilize the area.

Hillcrest students Elizabeth Rush, Sarah Saffell and Joshua Shaw identified the need to increase reading scores and overall student performance by initiating a "Reading Counts" book drive. Donations enabled them to purchase over 400 books (10-15 per classroom) for the elementary school hoping to instill the love of reading and raising literacy scores.

Bryce Baldridge and Herb Ginn, Lawrence County Extension staff members, compiled a presentation of the class highlights, which were reviewed by Gail Clark.

Tim Taylor, committee member, with the assistance of Shirley Murphy, named Morgan Smith from Sloan-Hendrix as recipient of the $1,000 Lawrence Health Foundation scholarship in honor of Dr. Joseph. Morgan will receive $1,000 upon graduation from high school to attend an Arkansas institute of higher education.

At the conclusion of the program, Manning presented the class members with their graduation certificates, and members of Class 16 gave a response as to how they benefitted individually by being a member.

Graduates also thanked Dr. Joseph for his vision of youth leadership training.

The youth leadership program is made possible through the generous support of Dr. Ralph Joseph, MD; Lawrence Health Foundation; Walmart; Paul and Helen Doty; Larry Sloan; Robert Bosch Tools Corp.; AgHeritage Farm Credit Services; Regions Bank; Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; University of Arkansas of Agriculture - Extension Lawrence County; Lawrence County 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 and more," Manning said. "We want to thank Linda Phillips, Judy Videll, Carrie Mae Snapp, Melanie Volner, Jennifer Smith, Jean Osburn, Shantel Archer and the Hoxie and Powhatan City Councils."

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

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