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Youth Leadership class graduates

After three months of classes, community service and industry tours, the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership class graduated 31 students last Sunday.

The guest speaker was Mayor Edward Reynolds, who is also the co-founder of the Youth Leadership program.

Reynolds spoke about what it takes to be a leader and encouraged the graduates to come back to Decatur County following college.

The Community Service award was presented to Gabrielle Howard for earning the highest number of community service hours during the program.

As a whole, the class volunteered a total of 110 hours with Gabby earning 15 of those hours.

The evening ended with a video presentation showcasing the three months of hard work the students were involved in.

The program began in October 2009 with 84 applicants, who went through a difficult selection process by the Chamber’s Youth Leadership Committee lead by chairman Charlotte Howard, the human relations director for the Decatur County Board of Education.

The students graduating Sunday were the following: Mary Ann Adams, Keenan Adams, Adam Anderson, Holly Barber, Steven Bench, Chelsey Bryant, Will Bius, Kenneth Burke, Sarah Bush, Stephen Dunn, Cole Farrington, Sarah Franklin, Christina Green, Kyle Harris, Lindsey Hatcher, Gabrielle Howard, Michael Jones, Sallie King, Chelsea Kornse, Mitchell Massengill, Anye’ Miller, Samantha Nevarez, Tyler Pollock, Anne Reynolds, Abbey Smith, Joshua Smith, Austin Spooner, Jennifer Voyles, Christopher Webster, Hannah Williams and Tad Young.

The students were selected for the program, which includes classes conducted by local leaders in the areas of communication, leadership traits, team building, goal setting and etiquette.

The students had an opportunity to learn about starting a new business and how to prepare themselves for the ups and downs of self-employment.

The students spent a day touring Decatur County and visited with DaniMer Scientific, Meredian LLC., Georgia Industries for the Blind, and the Decatur County Courthouse.

The students also gained much insight into law enforcement when Sheriff Wiley Griffin and his deputies spent an evening showing the students the various departments within the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department. They learned about forensics, and the use of the K-9 and SWAT units.

The Chamber’s committee consisted of John Kennedy, Glennie Bench, Greg McDonald, Cile Warr, Ann Wells, David Warr, Joan Shiver, Tommie Howell and Marlene Free.

The Youth Steering Committee members, who assisted with the classes and projects, were Jessica Allen, Casey Brock, Kevin Dew, Mary Anna Dozier, Bobby Forrester, Emily Hiers, Jamere Hopkins, Allison Howard, Haley Hubbard, Tyrone Jacobs, Kelsey Lambert, Taylor McDonald, Kylie McGlincy, Katie Monson, Valerie Nguyen, Rich Ragan, Griffin Reynolds, Jana Simmons, Sam Slaughte, and Corrine Walsingham.

The Youth Leadership program operates solely through sponsorships, which included Georgia Power Company, Park Avenue Bank, Regions Bank, Family Connections, Elberta Crate and Box, PeoplesSouth Bank, Dairy Queen and Stephens Stillwaters Vacation Rentals.