On April 13, 2016, high school juniors participating in the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy continued their journey of economic development in Hancock County by visiting the John C. Stennis Space Center. The economic development session was the fourth session for the high school juniors. Students began the day with an overview of Stennis and a briefing on internship and career opportunities before traveling to the Naval Meteorology and Oceanographic Command Center. There they were able to view the tools used for scientific exploration of the ocean floor.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a world recognized aerospace leader in propulsions, sponsored both lunch and a tour of their facility. It is here that large liquid rocket engines are assembled and tested. HYLA student Elora Pierce of Bay High stated, “Aerojet Rocketdyne was fascinating! We learned a great deal about the technology involved in maintaining and manufacturing the engines as well as how it is to work there. The atmosphere helped me further consider becoming a real-life rocket scientist! Overall it was a very in-depth experience as to the workings of space exploration.”
The full day came to a close at the Naval Special Warfare Center for Maritime Training and Riverine Warfare. Here, the students met with the Commanding Officer and members of Special Boat Team 22, who specialize in riverine missions, often in support of SEALS. The students toured the facility and were able to board one of the riverine craft. Last on the agenda was a windshield tour of NASA’s Propulsion Test Complex where they young leaders were able to view the rocket stand where engines for all manned Apollo and space shuttle flights have been tested and where next-generation engines that will once again carry humans into deep space will be tested. The students were truly able to grasp the meaning of, “If you want to go to space, you first have to go through Hancock County, Mississippi.”
Picture HYLA students pictured with Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 Flight Engine: Designated to be flown on a NASA Space Launch System (SLS) mission. Front row: (left to right) Adara Rutherford (Hancock), Marie Konopacki (Hancock), Jasmine Martin (Hancock), Haley Akers (Hancock), Ariana Rusher (Hancock), Abby Ladner (OLA), Amy Keith (Hancock), Jordan Ladner (Hancock), Aidia Suter (Bay High)
Middle Row: Mike McDaniel (General Manager), Brooke Rasco (Hancock), Cooper Compretta (Bay High), Talia Jackson (Bay High), Morgan Lacoste (Hancock), Brooke Ladner (Hancock), Kloe Lloyd (OLA), Claire Lundgren (OLA), Elora Pierce (Bay High), Minerva Alonso (Bay High), Tarah Necaise (Bay High), Jill Seymour (Bay High). Back Row: Drew Burnett (St. Stanislaus), Seth Taylor (St. Stanislaus), Andrew Elkins (St. Stanislaus), Bradley Lewis (Hancock), Tim Papania (Hancock), Corbin Blanchard (St. Stanislaus), Cody Peranich (St. Stanislaus), and Dimetri Lyons (Bay High).
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) Junior High Program Class of 2016 spent their most recent session, sponsored by a friend of HYLA, immersed in the history, art and culture of Bay St. Louis.
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 Wednesday, April 6th, the group began their day with a tour of The Sea Coast Echo. There they learned how the news is gathered and designed for print and also the immense value of the community newspaper to the residents. They were surprised to learn that community print newspapers are often doing better than their larger urban counterparts.
The Hancock County Historical Society was the next stop on the tour where Mr. Charles Gray mesmerized students with his stories of the history of Bay St. Louis. Students learned that they could access the archives to do their own historical research. They then enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Cypress Café along with a tour of the old City Hall.
HYLA students were further immersed in Hancock County culture when they took a walking tour with stops at the Alice Moseley Folk Art Museum, the Train Depot, and the Mardi Gras Museum where costumes from the Krewe of Nereids are displayed. Current Lieutenants of the Krewe, Dina Rosetti and Mary Ann Pucheu, were on hand to explain the history behind their organization and the impact that it has on the local economy. HYLA students ended their walking tour with a stop at the Starr Boarding House (which is now the Bay St. Louis Little Theatre). They were treated to a presentation by Cheryl Grace which included free admission to their next production.
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 – Back Row (left to right): Kyle Capo (St. Stanislaus), Sebastian Fausett (Hancock Middle), Riley Welsh (Hancock Middle), Joshua Cothen (B/W Middle), Tommy Gilbert (Hancock Middle), Easton Logan (St. Stanislaus), Drew West (St. Stanislaus), Sofia Compretta (OLA), Brooke Rogers (OLA), Samantha Broussard (OLA), Geoff Belcher, Editor, Alexa Hardie (Hancock Middle). Front Row: Amelia Haynes (B/W Middle), Sidney Henry (B/W Middle), Hayden Matheson (OLA), Caroline Schafer (OLA), Emily Perniciaro (OLA), Isabella Clogher (OLA), Rose Khadaroo (B/W Middle), Olivia Dosda (Hancock Middle), Macie Firchau (Hancock Middle), Landon Ladner (Hancock Middle), Parker Quandt (St. Stanisalaus)