For Immediate Release:
May 13, 2019
On May 8, 2019, high school juniors participating in the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy continued their exploration of economic development in Hancock County. Their first visit was to 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. SABIC Innovative Plastics sponsored the session which included a tour of their facility. Students were able to get an up-close look at the international company that produces plastic pellet material used in items such as car bumpers and electronics.
Next, the students traveled to Stennis Airpark, which encompasses 1800 acres, including Stennis International Airport and several domestic and foreign companies. There first stop was to Hot Sticks Manufacturing Company. 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!
A delicious picnic lunch, graciously provided by SABIC, was held at McCleod Park. There, Kevin Ladner, Hancock County Recreation Director, discussed the recent improvements to the park and its economic impact on the county.
Stennis International Airport was the next stop on the tour, where students were greeted by David Turner, General Manager of Million Air, and given a tour of the Air Traffic Control Tower and the Stennis Airport Fire Department.
The full day came to close with a tour the manufacturing facility of Lazy Magnolia. “This is one of my favorite sessions because students are unaware of the technological and manufacturing potential of Hancock County” said Rhonda Rhodes, director of HYLA. The economic development tour was the fifth session for the high school juniors participating in the HYLA program.
Front Row (left to right): Karina Alarcon (Bay High), Danae Fowler (Bay High), Bre Hayes (Bay High), Lindsey Magee (Hancock), Hannah Davis (Hancock), Sophia Compretta (OLA), and Sydney Hotard (OLA).
Middle Row: Brennan Toepfer (SSC), Joby Smith (Hancock), Diana Dardar (Bay High), Jackson Maillho (SSC), Daniela Cruz (OLA), Cameron Benzing (OLA) and Chelsea Smith (Hancock).
Back Row: Tommy Gilbert (Hancock), Drew West (SSC), Kyle Capo (SSC), Joe Lawson (SSC), Reid Pierce (Bay High), Josh Cothen (Bay High), and
Allen Chatelain (Hancock).
For more information, please contact Rhonda Rhodes at 228-463-8887.
For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2019
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) held a graduation ceremony for its eighth class of junior high students on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at Saint Stanislaus’ College Cafe. The graduation was the culmination of a program that began in January. Seventeen bright young students displaying strong leadership potential from all four area middle schools were chosen to participate in the program. Over the course of the last five months, HYLA students engaged in a series of sessions that developed and strengthened their self-awareness and leadership styles, exposed them to local government and county and municipal administration to promote civic engagement, increased their awareness of the importance of small business and industry to the health of the community, and demonstrated the role of the arts in sustaining a community’s culture.
The graduation ceremony was held immediately after the final session of the program, and was sponsored by Alexander, Van Loon, Sloan, Levens & Favre, PLLC. To start the day, the young leaders completed service projects that they planned. One project, “Community Cleanup” was comprised of six students who cleaned St. Mary Catholic Cemetery and the beach by the Washington Street pier. The second group, comprised of eleven students, organized the “Nursing Home Kindness”. These students prepared goodie baskets and visited with the residents of Dunbar Village.
Students then participated in several activities which provided the springboard to launch the students from the program, as they are now set to enter high school as young leaders with cultural sensitivity and a firm understanding of their community’s assets and resources.
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy is the first county-wide youth leadership program in Hancock County. HYLA extends sincere appreciation to the generous sponsors of the 2019 program: Accelerated Physical Therapy, AVL, (Alexander, Van Loon, Sloan, Levens & Favre), Brehm Bell, Attorney at Law, Betz, Rosetti & Associates, Clement Benvenutti, Attorney at Law, Chemours, Clay Creations, Coast Electric, Maria Compretta, JP Compretta, DAK Americas, Diamondhead Dental Clinic, Edmond Fahey Funeral Home, The First, ANBA, Mark and Leslie Henderson, Bert Keel, Jr. DMD, Leadership Hancock County/ Hancock County Chamber of Commerce, Dr. William LeDoux, Mike Meyers (State Farm Agent), John McDonald Realty, Mississippi Power Assoc., Pet Haven Veterinary Hospital, Rolls Royce, SABIC Innovative Plastics, Silver Slipper Casino, Southern Printing & Silkscreening, Dean and Marilene Taylor, Tellus Self Storage, Triton Systems, Inc, RPM Pizza, LLC, Waveland Walmart, Bay Waveland Middle School, Hancock Middle School, Our Lady Academy, and Saint Stanislaus.
(Picture #1) Max Garrett (Hancock), Owen Haynes (Hancock), Louis Weber (Saint Stanislaus), Makayla Robertson (Hancock), and Landon DeWitt (Hancock) prepare to clean Saint Mary Cemetery.
(Picture #2) Several HYLA students bring goodies and visit with Dunbar resident Bob Hubbard and Administrator Amy Ivey.