A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Chamber’s Regional Youth Leadership class of 2018 building leadership skills, community involvement

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Special to NKyTribune

The Regional Youth Leadership program through the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce provides high school juniors who demonstrate leadership potential and strong commitment to community service the opportunity to build leadership skills and further their community involvement.

Each year 45 juniors from Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati-area high schools are selected to participate in the nine-month program and learn about complex issues and challenges facing the metropolitan area.

They engage in team-building and leadership activities and outings and build strong bonds and friendships.

The class of 2018 represents 33 different high schools with two students who are homeschooled. There are many reasons students chose to apply.

Jackie Tierney, a junior at Beechwood High School in Fort Mitchell, explained she didn’t want to have any regrets about her experience in high school.

“I made it a goal to put myself out there for my junior year and this program has really changed my life,” Jackie explained.

“Before RYL, I used to be nervous and had a reputation of being the quiet girl. Now, my whole perspective on talking to people has changed and I’ve never been so involved with a group of people. I’ve gained so much confidence with them and talk to classmates at school who I haven’t had conversations with since kindergarten.”

So far, the students in Regional Youth Leadership have attended a retreat at Camp Joy and sessions on diversity and arts and culture.

“At Camp Joy we really got to know each other by having to complete a day of puzzles and challenges,” Jackie recounted. “We had to deliver a golf ball to a bucket without using our hands, climb a 12-foot wall, and complete a zip line obstacle course.”

During the diversity session, they learned about culture, personality, and social class.
They looked more in depth at topics some students had never been made very aware of such as unconscious bias; the way people act towards others without thinking about it.

Jackie’s favorite session was arts and culture.

“We spent the day exploring Cincinnati. We ate at Findley Market, toured Antonelli College’s photography department, saw an improv show courtesy of NKU, and danced with the Cincinnati Ballet,” said Jackie. “Throughout the day, I was really able to see and appreciate how the arts have revitalized the city.”

The Northern Kentucky Chamber also offers a version of this organization for Northern Kentucky’s best and brightest working professionals and leaders called Leadership Northern Kentucky. Through both of these programs, the hope is to give students and professionals the skills needed to develop them into outstanding leaders who can become catalysts for change.

“It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself,” said Jackie. “I laugh and smile so much at the sessions and wherever I go, I can usually find one of my friends.”

Regional Youth Leadership Class of 2018

Amy Bushman, Anderson High School

Jacklyn Tierney, Beechwood High School

Kylie Hicks, Bellevue High School

Mark Saunders, Bellevue High School

Austin Alwell, Bishop Brossart High School

Yazan Orabi, Boone County High School

Hannah Beaven, Calvary Christian High School

Natalie Sampson, Campbell County High School

Madelyn Vezdos, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

Katherine Wells, Conner High School

Timothy Belton, Covington Catholic High School

Lucas Kuhlman, Covington Catholic High School

Phillip Bright, Covington Latin School

Mary Jacqueline Cain, Covington Latin School

Elizabeth Lukens, Dayton High School

Catherine Kremer, Dixie Heights High School

Sydney Cooper, Highlands High School

Demetrius Sarakatsannis, Highlands High School

Evan Wells, Holy Cross High School

Emilie Hatton, Homeschool

Karina Masih, Homeschool

Cole Werbrich, Indian Hill High School

Hannah Herrmann, Lloyd High School

Morgan Lantry, Ludlow High School

Cameron Finke, Madeira High School

Holly Byers, Mariemont High School

Emily English, Mount Notre Dame

Luke Grothaus, Newport Central Catholic High School

Joseph Whelan, Newport Central Catholic High School

Cody Baynori, Newport High School

Elise Piatt, Notre Dame Academy

Morgan Weltzer, Notre Dame Academy

Camden Schierenbeck, Randall K. Cooper High School

Emma Poole, Scott High School

Elayne Harrington, Simon Kenton High School

Harrison Vaughn, Simon Kenton High School

Grace Mullikin, St. Henry District High School

Amy Poffenberger, Summit Country Day School

Jessica Lu, Sycamore High School

Jessica Rocha Torres, Taylor High School

Giovanni Falcone, Villa Madonna High School

Gabriel Powell, Villa Madonna High School

Megan Wells, Walton-Verona High School
 and
Braden Mulcahy, Walton-Verona High School 

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