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29 graduate from Youth Leadership

Twenty-nine Bainbridge High School and Grace Christian Academy students have successfully completed the 11th Annual Youth Leadership program sponsored by the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce.

On March 22, the participants were honored with a graduation dinner and recognized for their commitment and dedication to the program.

Candace Howard, a 2005 Youth Leadership graduate, a Bainbridge College dance instructor and current Valdosta State University honor student, gave the graduation address.

The annual Community Service Award, presented by Charlotte Howard of the Steering Committee, was given to Jessica Allen.

Some of our Youth Leadership alumni were on hand to help Chairman Greg McDonald make the presentation of certificates.

The 2009 Youth Leadership graduates are Joycelyn Alexander, Jessica Allen, Laura Andrews, Tiffy Blocker, Casey Brock, Kevin Dew, Jessica Dunlap, David Golladay, Sydney Harrell, Ebony Jackson, Eldrick Jacobs, Anna Jordan, Taylor Kirkpatrick, Kelsey Lambert, Taylor McDonald, Shelby Miller, Valerie Nguyen, Whitney Poppell, LaTavis Porter, Sutton Reece, Maria Secundino, Jana Simmons, Ladson Simmons, William Slaughter, Elizabeth Soden, Elizabeth Thomas, Corinne Walsingham, Myranda Weathersby and Ashley Wimberly.

The Youth Leadership Decatur County program was started in 1999 and each year, a group of only 30 sophomores and juniors are selected to participate.

Over the course of a 12-week period, they are expected to attend an overnight retreat and attend seven leadership classes designed by the Fanning Leadership Center.

Other activities outside the classroom include a trip to Atlanta to visit the Capitol and see the General Assembly in action, a session on health care with a tour of the local hospital, an industry tour, and a session on crime and justice in the community.

This year’s program was lead by a dedicated steering committee consisting of McDonald and other adult members including Howard, Tommie Howell, Marlene Free, Joan Shiver, Cile Warr and David Warr.

The committee was also assisted by a group of Youth Leadership alumni. Helping with this year were Mary Anna Dozier, Jarek Fleming, Bobby Forrester, Emily Hiers, Jamere Hopkins, Allison Howard, Haley Hubbard, Kylie McGlincy, Jessica Merritt, Rachael Midler, Katherine Monson, Rich Ragan, Griffin Reynolds, Lauren Thomas and Frankie Warren.

It also takes many volunteers, partners and sponsors to make this program successful.

The Chamber would like to express our sincere thanks to those wonderful volunteers who donated of their time so generously and would like to thank the following businesses for their support in helping shape our future leaders: BASF, Bainbridge Coca-Cola Bottling, Bainbridge College, Bainbridge High School, Bainbridge Vision Clinic, Bainbridge YMCA, Decatur County Board of Education, Decatur County Extension Office, Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, First Port City Bank, Georgia Power, Grace Christian Academy, Memorial Hospital and Southwest Georgia Farm Credit.