LEE COUNTY: First Young Commissioners class ‘surpassed expectations’

Jul. 17, 2013 @ 05:46 PM

The Lee County Young Commissioners Youth Leadership program ends Friday with organizers deeming its inaugural year a success.

A dozen students will conclude two weeks of hands-on training and workshops focused on government and leadership with a luncheon with the Lee County Board of Commissioners noon Friday, according to the program’s facilitator Bill Stone.

“I am really pleased with how it has gone,” Stone said. “In any new program, you don’t know quite to expect, and these students surpassed all expectations.”

The students have proven to be attentive, he said, and they’ve offered thoughtful reflection and analysis after each session.

After attending the Lee County Commissioners and Sanford City Council meetings Monday and Tuesday nights, respectively, the students were able to see the practical applications of what they learned. Councilman Jimmy Haire met with students before the meeting and provided a lesson on the history of Lee County.

“It was a real good mix of kids, and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “When you’re talking about history, you’ve got to give them a few stories to make them laugh and get them interested.”

Haire’s history lesson was one of 14-year-old Sarah Womack’s favorite sessions during the two-week program, citing his humor and photographs as particularly interesting.

“It’s been very educational,” Womack said. “We’ve learned a lot about leadership.”

Lee Early College student Mlynn Wooden said the  course was very beneficial and she enjoyed meeting other students from various schools.

“We learned about what it takes to be a leader,” she said, “and about how it can be hard to give back.”

The mock job interview and crafting a resume were difficult tasks, according to 14-year-old Tessa Rosado, but she said she was glad to learn these skills early.

“We learned a lot from each other,” she said.

The students participating are Jose Armando Cortez Martinez, Austin Wayne Dowdy, Diana Garcia-Sanchez, Ashley Catalina Guerrero, Jamie Soquena Guillergan, Jarkayla Sierra Jackson, Eva Kathleen Perry, Taylor Nicole Quinones, Keven Anthony Ramirez, Tessa Marie Rosado, Sarah Lynn Womack and Mlynn Elisabeth Wooden.