Follow The Republic:
Emma Alexander thought she nailed the interview portion of a three-pronged evaluation process for a program that recognizes and encourages future leaders.
The Columbus East High School senior has experience as a member of the school’s speech team, and feels comfortable speaking in front of an audience.
Still, Alexander, a participant in Youth Leadership Bartholomew County, was surprised when she heard her name announced as the first-place winner in the Columbus Service League’s Leadership Conference and Awards Ceremony Sept. 16 at the Clarion Hotel, 2480 Jonathan Moore Pike.
A total of 192 students with at least a B-plus GPA were recognized during the invitation-only event which also included lunch and a keynote speech by an Indiana University professor.
Each of those students last school year submitted a résumé, wrote a 250-word essay about leadership and underwent a personal interview for a make-believe job. All of the essays were judged by community volunteers and returned to students with suggestions. The judges’ findings served as the basis for determining winners.
The $1,500 Alexander received is the Columbus Service League’s biggest cash prize for that event’s history, besting the $1,000 prize that went to the winner last year.
Nine other Bartholomew County students received cash prizes between $500 and $1,250 for finishing in the Top 10, and 10 runners-up got $100 apiece.
All were made possible through sponsor donations.
Alexander said she would put her money to good use. She is considering attending Purdue University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of Michigan, but has not settled on a major.
“I’m thrilled,” she said.
But the event was about more than money. It was about recognizing, encouraging and teaching people who are likely to become tomorrow’s community leaders.
Phillip Henson, a professor at Indiana University’s science department, stressed during his keynote speech the importance of young people volunteering and taking a leadership role in their communities. He talked about how volunteering on even a small scale can snowball into something greater and eventually lead to big breaks.
Henson, who grew up on a dairy farm in southwestern Missouri, said he volunteered to play quarterback at his high school and remained his team’s quarterback all four years. He later volunteered for the student council and ended up serving as the organization’s
Fast forward to 1994. Henson, with volunteer coaching experiences under his belt, served as a consultant for the Olympics when the worldwide event came to Atlanta. He’s also assisted with other Olympics after the 1994 Summer Games.
Henson said it all started with volunteering.
Ironically, volunteering is what makes Youth Leadership Bartholomew County possible. The event program, available to all attendees, listed 25 sponsors who donated their money, their time, their materials or a combination.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” said Varsi Veeter, a Youth Leadership committee member. “Their support is what makes this event what it is for a great group of students.”
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
Note: All comments left on our sites are first reviewed by an automated comment moderation system. Your comment may take up to 5 minutes to appear. If for any reason your comment can not be approved you will receive an email from this system with a detailed explanation.
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.