December 05, 2012 Edition

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Enid Rorex Olvey (back right) was guest speaker at the recent Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Class 18 graduation. She and Billie (Mrs. Ralph) Joseph (seated right) were among those on hand to congratulate the graduates. They are (front, from left): Kaitlin Briner, Sloan-Hendrix; Sabrina Knight, Walnut Ridge; Sara Wright, Hoxie; Rachael Weekley, Black Rock; Megan Carey, Black Rock; Britni Nicole Miles, Sloan-Hendrix; (back) Jake Ellis, Hoxie; Edward Harthorn, Walnut Ridge; Kelsey Richey, Hillcrest; Jessica Whitmire, Hillcrest; Alissah Harris, Sloan-Hendrix; Anna Bland, Walnut Ridge; Courtney Sears, Hoxie; Makenly Coles, Hillcrest; and Derrek Nunally, Black Rock.

Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership
Class 18 completes program

Fifteen youth representing the five high school campuses in Lawrence County have completed the eight-session leadership program with graduation on Nov. 18.

This program covers community assessment, communications, leadership ropes course, etiquette, personality assessment, decision-making, project reports and cultural diversity. They 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 our youth to be good leaders and donate back to their communities. Dr. Joseph, along with others, has donated funds each year, while a committee of volunteers conducts the program.

The group then recognized Billie (Mrs. Ralph) Joseph and the dream of the late Dr. Ralph Joseph, who passed away Nov. 1. Other guests recognized were Shirley Murphy, Lawrence Health Foundation executive director; Junior Briner, Leadership Lawrence County Alumni Association chairman; Kari Shanks, chairman of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board; Adult Leadership Class 8 member, Kathy Bradley and Director Dr. Brett Cooper and Enid Rorex Olvey, speaker.

John Thomison, committee member, introduced Olvey, a senior development officer for Arkansas Children's Hospital. She has worked at the hospital nine years and is a graduate of RJYL Class 3. Olvey shared that the leadership skills she learned while a participant of Class 3 allowed her to join leaders from every school and accomplish something bigger than any of them could accomplish alone.

"We all had different strengths and experiences, but if we pulled together, we learned that we could create something bigger than ourselves," Olvey said. Another experience she shared was learning that she could push past her fears and discomforts and that she could grow and learn more than she ever thought. This program pushed her out of her comfort zone in more than one way. Olvey concluded with a quote that hangs on her office door. "That thing that scares you the most. That thing that makes you say, 'I don't know if I can do it, I'm scared.' Run towards it. Because it is so amazing on the other side."

Service projects highlighted

Lila Floyd, committee member, recognized the community service winners for 2012. Students from two schools, Hoxie and Walnut Ridge, were honored.

Walnut Ridge students Anna Bland, Sabrina Knight and Edward Harthorn chose to double project. Wanting to positively impact their world, they initiated a recycling project and collected 42 pounds of paper, plastic and aluminum immediately. Their second project involved a "loose change drive" in the elementary school resulting in 21 pairs of pajamas for The Children's Shelter.

Sara Wright, Courtney Sears and Jake Ellis of Hoxie discovered that there are students who lack the necessities that they and others took for granted. Six blankets and $60 were collected and given to The Children's Shelter; 50 shirts, hoodies and coats were given to students on campus and the Shelter. They also collected 135 food items and $60 that went to the "Backpack" program to assist children who risk not having food over the weekend.

Black Rock students Megan Carey, Derrek Nunally and Rachael Weekley combined forces with Zebras against Drugs and the FCCLA chapter to address the effects of drugs and alcohol. They used statistics that every 30 minutes someone dies from the result of drinking and driving. They set up a roadblock at the end of the school day to help make parents aware of wearing seat belts or having children fastened in properly.

Kaitlin Briner, Alissah Harris and Nicole Miles of Sloan-Hendrix learned lessons in merchandizing and marketing to open a "school store" so students can have access to school supplies they may need for class or school spirit items to boost school morale.

Hillcrest students Makenly Coles, Kelsey Richey and Jessica Whitmire addressed the need for safely transporting student to and from their two campuses. They placed cut out animals in the bus window for easy identification and re-numbered bus seats for uniformity.

All the projects addressed a need and included compassion for the difficult situations of others but would not have been accomplished had not someone taken a leadership role to see it through, Floyd said.

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, with the assistance of Shirley Murphy, named Sara Wright of Hoxie and Anna Bland of Walnut Ridge as co-recipients of the $1,000 Lawrence Health Foundation scholarship in honor of Dr. Joseph.

Sara and Anna will receive $500 each upon graduation from high school to attend an Arkansas institute of higher education.

John Thomison and Tim Taylor presented the students with their graduation certificates.

Members of Class 18 gave a response as to how they benefited individually by being a member and expressed appreciation for Dr. Joseph's vision of youth leadership training.

The youth leadership program is made possible through the generous support of Dr. Ralph Joseph, M.D., Lawrence Health Foundation, Walmart, Larry Sloan, Robert Bosch Tools Corp., Ag Heritage Farm Credit Services, Regions Bank, Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, University of Arkansas for Agriculture - Extension Lawrence County, school districts in Lawrence County and Leadership Lawrence County Alumni Association.

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

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

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