December 07, 2011 Edition

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The Walnut Ridge High School Bobcats, seeded seventh, finished as runners-up Saturday in the senior boys division of the Williams Baptist College Invitational Basketball Tournament. Team members are (front, from left): Baron Estes, Eric Wilcoxson, Kyle Johnson, Cole Hicks, Clay Hufstedler, Jacob Lawson, Dylan Smith, Hunter Flippo; (back) Shane Duncan - assistant coach, Garrett Crisler, Zach Crisler, Ryan Vaughn, Jeb Bridges, Matt Cox, Eric Huff, Darren Tribble, Range Weeks and Darrel Crisler - coach.
Submitted Photo ~ Ashley George

Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership
Class 17 completes program

Fifteen youth representing the five high school campuses in the county have completed the eight-session leadership program with graduation on Nov. 20.

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

Tim Taylor, committee member, 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. Ralph Joseph. Other guests recognized were Shirley Murphy, Lawrence Health Foundation executive director; Kathy Bradley, Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; Kari Shanks, Walmart store manager; and Lindsay T. Penn, guest speaker.

John Thomison, committee member, introduced Penn, a graduate of RJYL Class 6. She shared that the leadership skills she learned, while a participant of Class 6, are still very pertinent today. Skills of good communication, being a positive influence, being a team player and doing good deeds are practiced daily.

She also told students that sending thank you notes enforces the concept - "It's not about you but them."

"You will be challenged to get out of your comfort zone, face your fears and rise to the task," Penn told participants. "Be a positive influence on others and take advantage of opportunities."

Penn closed by quoting one of John Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. The Law of Addition - adding value to the lives of others. Maxwell says the bottom line of leadership is not how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.

Service projects highlighted

Renee Tucker, committee co-chair, recognized the community service winners for 2011. Students from two schools were honored.

Walnut Ridge students Holly Looney, Brittney Pinkston and Range Weeks were selected for encouraging elementary students to love reading by providing over 400 books to elementary students for their personal use. Hillcrest students Lindsey Crews, Zack Doyle and Hunter Nunnally were honored for educating the whole student body on the dangers of drugs, tobacco and alcohol during red ribbon week.

Black Rock students Katie Blankenship, Whitney Meeks and Anna Tyson collected food/cash for Black Rock Senior Citizens Center and repainted street signs.

Kara DeShazo, Shayla Dickson and Joshlyn Flanery of Sloan-Hendrix encouraged raising reading scores during DEAR (drop everything and read) day.

They also monitored a reading contest and rewarded the winners with a pizza party.

Hoxie students Rachel Land, Bethany Wright and Peyton Tillman fixed up Hoxie City Park with the assistance of Mayor Lanny Tinker and the Hoxie Fire Department. Benches and tables were painted, sidewalks and hedges trimmed, litter picked up and flowers planted.

Ashley Durden, Lawrence County Extension agent for family and consumer science, compiled a presentation of the class highlights, which were reviewed by Gail Clark.

Scholarship winners named

Jean Osburn, committee member, and Murphy recognized Bethany Wright from Hoxie and Range Weeks from Walnut Ridge as recipient of the $1,000 Lawrence Health Foundation scholarship in honor of Dr. Joseph. Bethany and Range will receive $500 each upon graduation from high school to attend an Arkansas institute of higher education.

Tucker presented the students with their graduation certificates.

Members of Class 17 gave a response as to how they benefited individually by being a member and thanked Dr. Joseph for his vision of youth leadership training.

The members of Class 17 also gave a gift of appreciation to Clark. She received a Christmas mug and spoon as well as a donation made in her honor to St. Jude's Children Hospital.

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

Besides monetary donations, many individuals donate time and expertise to teach classes, prepare notebooks, share meeting space, etc., including Rep. James Ratliff, Carrie Mae Snapp, Jennifer Smith, Sandra McGinnis, Kathy Bradley and the Black Rock City Council.

To find out more about the RJYLP contact the county Extension office at 886-3741 or any graduate or committee member.

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