On March 16, 2016, high school juniors participating in the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) began their exploration of economic development in Hancock County. Their first visit was the Stennis Airpark area, encompassing 1800 acres, including Stennis International Airport and several domestic and foreign companies. Hancock Resource Center board chair, Charles Benvenutti, CPA, sponsored the session which included a tour of the manufacturing facility of Lazy Magnolia.
Students then traveled to Selex Galileo, Inc., where state-of-the-art technology is installed into aviation platforms. Students learned that right here in Hancock County this company provides a full service loop from design to technology insertion, upgrading aircraft with a new set of capabilities to enhance mission readiness and performance.
Stennis International Airport was the next stop on the tour, where students were greeted by Bill Cotter, Director of Aviation and David Turner, General Manager of Million Air, Mississippi’s newest luxury FBO. The tour included a trip to the fire station and control tower and ended with a delicious lunch at the new Jet Away Café.
The group then traveled to the Hancock County’s Public Safety Complex where they were given a presentation by Warden Brandon Zeringue, which included a tour of the prison.
The full day came to a close in Port Bienville, a 3600-acre park home to 18 industries and employing 1200 workers in Hancock County. The park boasts a Short Line Railroad with CSX interchange, 15 miles of rail infrastructure, deep water access and close proximity to the interstate system. A tour of Polychemie, Inc. provided the students with an up-close look at the international company that is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of water-soluble polymers.
“It was such a treat for us to tour new businesses at both Stennis Airpark and the Port because students are unaware of the technological and manufacturing potential of Hancock County. If these young leaders are thinking about STEM or skilled manufacturing, they now know they can work in these occupations right here at home,” said Rhonda Rhodes, director of HYLA. The economic development tour was the third session for the high school juniors participating in the HYLA program.
Picture: HYLA students at Polychemie, Inc. Front Row: (left to right): Ariana Rusher (Hancock), Marie Konopacki (Hancock), Abby Ladner (OLA), Amy Keith (Hancock), Jordan Ladner (Hancock)
Middle Row: Claire Lundgren (OLA), Adara Rutherford (Hancock), Brooke Rasco (Hancock), Haley Akers (Hancock), Morgan Lacoste (Hancock), Jasmine Martin (Hancock), Katie Ladner (Hancock), Elora Pierce (Bay High), Brooke Ladner (Hancock), Talia Jackson (Bay High), Minerva Alonso (Bay High), Jill Seymour (Bay High), Heather Durham (Polychemie). Back Row: Jim Bishop (Plant Manager, Polychemie), Bradley Lewis (Hancock), Tim Papania (Hancock), Tarah Necaise (Bay High), Kloe Lloyd (OLA), Dimetri Lyons (Bay High), Seth Taylor (St. Stanislaus), Andrew Elkins (St. Stanislaus),
Cooper Compretta (Bay High), Drew Burnett (St. Stanislaus), Cody Peranich (St. Stanislaus), Corbin Blanchard (St. Stanislaus)
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) Junior High Program Class of 2016 spent their most recent session, sponsored by Diamondhead Dental Clinic, exploring the science, technology, and manufacturing facilities of Hancock County.
The 2016 HYLA Junior High School Class is comprised of twenty-two eighth graders from Hancock County who represent all four area middle schools. On Tuesday, March 15th, the group began their day by having a fun and fascinating experience at the INFINITY Science Center. INFINITY offers a blend of space, Earth science, engineering and technology content, spiced with innovative programming that leverages expertise from the area's leading edge research and test operations. INFINITY also is NASA's official visitor center for the Stennis Space Center, a Federal city of resident offices, headquarters, laboratories, and test facilities for more than 30 Federal and state organizations, universities, and corporations. Students were taken on a tour of Stennis which provided a behind-the-scenes look at America’s largest rocket engine test facility, one of the most unique scientific complexes on Earth.
HYLA students ended the day with a tour of Hot Sticks Manufacturing Company, located in Stennis Airpark. Hot Sticks is a leading manufacturer of customized drumsticks and imprinted bats and pens. The original Hot Sticks were the first to offer a variety of brightly colored models, and were the only major drumsticks that incorporated a proprietary dry grinding process to protect the integrity of the wood during production. Each student was presented with a pair of drumsticks after the tour and were amazed that these were made right here in their own backyard!
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy is the first and only county-wide youth leadership program in Hancock County, and is a program of The Hancock Resource Center. Moving forward, local community sponsorships are needed. Please consider sponsoring a session or making a general donation to support the ongoing operation of the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy. Invest in Hancock County’s future by cultivating its next generation of leaders: visit www.hancockhrc.org or call 228-463-8887 to learn how.
Picture: Front row: (left to right) Hayden Matheson (OLA), Camille Schafer (OLA), Emily Perniciaro (OLA), Isabella Clogher (OLA), Samantha Broussard (OLA), Macie Firchau (Hancock Middle) Middle Row: Amelia Haynes (B/W Middle), Parker Quandt (St. Stanislaus), Sophia Compretta (OLA), Riley Welsh (Hancock Middle), Landon Ladner (Hancock Middle), Olivia Dosda (Hancock Middle), Kyle Capo (St. Stanislaus) Back Row: Sidney Henry (B/W Middle), Brooke Rogers (OLA), Tommy Gilbert (Hancock Middle), Joshua Cothen (B/W Middle), Drew West (St. Stanislaus), Easton Logan (St. Stanislaus), Sebastian Fausett, (Hancock Middle), Rose Khadaroo (B/W Middle), Alexa Hardie (Hancock Middle)