Applications for the 2014-15 Hancock Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA), an initiative of the Hancock Resource Center, are now available for interested junior high and high school students. Two separate programs will be offered again this upcoming year.
The ideal candidate for the junior high program is an eighth grade student from one of the four middle schools in Hancock County (or homeschooled equivalent) that has leadership potential, but has not yet had the opportunity to discover it. Three sessions are scheduled throughout the spring semester, with a retreat and graduation at the end of April 2015. The cost of the program is $100 per student; scholarships may be available for eligible applicants who are selected for the program.
The HYLA high school program is based on the six building blocks of community development: Business Development; Workforce Development; Physical Infrastructure; Social Infrastructure; Cultural and Environmental Stewardship; and Civic Infrastructure. This program targets eleventh grade students from all Hancock County schools (as well as their home-schooled equivalents) who aspire to sharpen leadership skills and to embed those skills in civic commitment. The successful applicant will be the student who is able to: 1) balance academics and multiple activities while prioritizing this program; 2) plan and complete both individual and group projects; 3) be open-minded, have a positive attitude, and the capacity to enhance leadership skills; and 4) demonstrate a commitment to the community. Focused sessions include such topics as: How to Affect Change; Civic Engagement; Career Planning and Budgeting; Economic Development and Entrepreneurship; College Planning (overnight "College Cruise"); and Community Assets. The cost of the program is $250; applicants may request scholarships through the school that they attend.
Applications are available now through all area schools, on the Hancock Resource Center website, www.hancockhrc.org, or by calling 228-463-8887. The deadline for submission of the completed junior high application is October 30 and deadline for the high school application is November 10. HYLA staff will hold a workshop for interested high school applicants on Monday October 27, 2014 at 7:00pm at the Leo Seal Community Center located at 527 Highway 90 in Waveland (next to Hancock Bank). This workshop will cover in detail the application and interview process as well as expectations for essay submission. Contact Rhonda Rhodes or Paige Lundgren for more information, 228-463-8887.
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) High School Program Class of 2014 embarked on a College Cruise, generously sponsored by Wal-Mart, on September 16 and 17 in order to tour state colleges and universities and get a glimpse of higher education opportunities in the state. “The College Cruise is an important part of the preparation process that we undertake with participants of the youth leadership academy. Many students have not yet had the opportunity to see what Mississippi has to offer students entering college and we like to arm them with that knowledge,” says director Rhonda Rhodes.
On September 16, 2014, the group traveled to University of Southern Mississippi where they met with counselors to discuss the admissions and scholarship application process. They also met with faculty from the Criminal Justice department and then toured the forensics building and learned how to dust for fingerprints. The visit was complete with a tour of the entire campus and lunch at the Fresh Food Company.
From Hattiesburg, the leadership group traveled to Oxford and spent the night at The Inn at Ole Miss. Students were able the walk around The Square and ate dinner at the Old Venice Pizza Company. The next morning the group met with University of Mississippi Admissions Director, Whitman Smith, who stressed the importance of choosing the right college based on the students’ needs and highlighted what the university has to offer. Students were able to choose from three different tours: The Croft Institute of International Studies, The Center for Manufacturing Excellence, or the Trent Lott Leadership Institute. The group then toured the entire campus together.
From Oxford, the tour continued on to Starkville to tour the campus of Mississippi State University. Erron Flowers, Assistant Director of MS Recruitment, greeted the students and introduced them to the wide variety of programs offered by Mississippi State. Students then toured the Leo W. Seal Family Business Complex and were excited to see firsthand how the contributions of their fellow Hancock County native has allowed Mississippi State to flourish. They then toured the Leo Seal, Jr. Football Complex, including the locker rooms and workout facility, and watched the Bulldogs on their practice field. The day ended with a campus-wide tour and dinner at the Perry Cafeteria.