“These students have been outstanding. This has been the most amazing group of young people. We have definitely learned as much from them as they have from us. We are looking forward to another exciting year,” said Rhonda Rhodes, President of the Hancock Resource Center, who founded the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy in 2012.
Katherine Yanez and Joshua Conaway were the recipients of $250 scholarships that will be paid to the participants’ colleges once enrolled. Katie Yanez attends Hancock High School and will attend USM in the fall. She credits HYLA with “learning how to speak in front of a large group of people with composure.” Josh Conaway attends St. Stanislaus College and plans to attend Ole Miss. He learned “practical experience in how to handle unexpected real-life situations through the Leadership Academy.”
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy is the first county-wide youth leadership program in Hancock County. It was made possible thanks to a seed grant from Neighborworks America and matching funds from The First, A National Banking Association.
The 2013 HYLA graduating class are pictured from left to right: (front row) Alex Sandoval (Bay High), Katherine Yanez (Hancock), Olivia Tenney (Hancock), Hannah Oliver (OLA), Katherine Grafe (Hancock), Alexandra Walker (Bay High), Miriam Keith (Bay High), Rosalea Garland (Bay High), Samantha McKee (Bay High), Joshua Conaway (SSC), Patrick Ponder (Bay High). (second row) Danielle Garfield (Hancock), Madison Seay (Hancock), Brittney Palode (Hancock), Emily Hinkel (Bay High), Crystal Jenkins (Bay High), Merritt Baria (Bay High), Clara Williams (Bay High), Mary Michael Collins (OLA), Balius Lee (OLA), Kady Ott (Bay High), (back row) Hayden Brewer (Hancock), Levi Strong (Hancock), Hannah Stealey (Hancock), Edward Harris (Bay High), Trey Asher (SSC), James Grotkowski (SSC), Brandon Butler (Hancock), Christa Reed (Bay High) and Hannah Fitzpatrick (Bay High).