The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) High School Program Class of 2016 spent their most recent session learning about local governments in the area. They visited with elected officials of Hancock County and its three municipalities and learned important lessons regarding congressional politics.
The 2016 HYLA High School Class is comprised of 29 eleventh graders from Hancock County who represent all four area high schools. On Wednesday, May 4th, the high school leaders embarked on their fifth session, sponsored by Compton Engineering, by meeting City and County officials in the new Annex Building. The students interacted here with Chancery Clerk Tim Kellar, Mayors Les Fillingame (Bay St. Louis), Mike Smith (Waveland), Thomas Schafer (Diamondhead) and Supervisor Blaine Lafontaine. The students submitted questions in advance which the mayors and supervisors addressed and also took questions from the floor. These young leaders learned about the intricacies of local government directly from city and county leaders.
Next on the agenda was a visit with Retired (US Airforce) Master Sergeant David Motz and Retired (US Airforce) Major Dick Brown who gave a moving presentation about their years of military service to our country. They both impressed upon the young leaders the necessity of service both locally in their community and nationally.
HYLA students were then immersed in an active learning process conducted by Tyson Elbert, research associate at the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University. Mr. Elbert engaged the young leaders in a simulation of the congressional election process. By using this simulation, the students gained a solid understanding of how congressional elections are conducted and of what determines who wins and loses these contests. By "playing along" with the election, they learned to choose among different strategic options for the campaigns, affording them the opportunity to understand the complexities of the election process and how decisions made throughout the course of the term ultimately affect the next election’s outcome. At the end of the process, students anxiously awaited election results to find out if their candidate would be heading back to Washington or remaining in their home district.
After visiting the Mississippi State Capitol in February, HYLA students further enhanced their knowledge this session of how government works on the local, state, and national levels and increased their understanding of how the political process affects decision making in the various contexts.
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): Cody Peranich (SSC), Corbin Blanchard (SSC), Tim Papania (Hancock), Seth Taylor (SSC), Bradley Lewis (Hancock), Drew Burnett (SSC), Andrew Elkins (SSC).
Middle Row: Jill Seymour (Bay High), Kloe Lloyd (OLA), Morgan Lacoste (Hancock), Minerva Alonso (Bay High), Katie Ladner (Hancock), Jordan Ladner (Hancock), Adara Rutherford (Hancock), Brooke Rasco (Hancock), Aidia Suter (Bay High), Claire Lundgren (OLA), Cooper Compretta (Bay High), Tarah Necaise (Bay High), Elora Pierce (Bay High), Dimetri Lyons (Bay High).
Front Row: Abby Ladner (OLA), Ariana Rusher (Hancock), Haley Akers (Hancock), Marie Konopacki (Hancock), Amy Keith (Hancock), Talia Jackson (Bay High), Jasmine Martin (Hancock) and Brooke Ladner (Hancock)
Seated: Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame, Hancock County Chancery Clerk Tim Kellar, Hancock County Supervisor Blaine Lafontaine, and Waveland Mayor Mike Smith.