Leadership and service is on the agenda for 18 Blount County high school sophomores as the Youth Leadership Blount program swings into high gear.
Youth Leadership Blount serves high school sophomores who show leadership abilities but who may not have the opportunity to reach that potential. The program challenges and sustains youth in developing qualities such as the ability to provide effective and ethical leadership for Blount County; an increased awareness of and appreciation for Blount County and its people; the ability and desire to serve the needs of the community both now and in the future and a strong bond with a diverse network of peers from throughout Blount County.
Each year 18 students are selected to participate in the program, which includes a beginning retreat, two-day legislative retreat to Nashville, and nine daylong sessions that expose participants to a variety of issues and topics that will enhance their understanding of Blount County while developing the skills they will need for life-long leadership service.
Nominations for the program are accepted in January. Teachers, guidance counselors, neighbors, clergy, alumni or other non-family members can nominate students for the program. Candidates for selection must be currently enrolled as a high school freshman and have at least a 2.0 grade point average. Individuals should also have a sincere interest in serving the community and demonstrate the potential for leadership.
Youth Leadership Blount is provided to students at no charge. The program is funded by sponsorships from businesses and civic organizations.
Leadership Blount County provides oversight to the Youth Leadership program. The Youth Leadership Blount Advisory committee, made up of program alumni, coordinates the sessions. For more information contact the program coordinator Carla McMillion at 984-9368.
This year’s class are profiled below.
• Clint Barbara attends Heritage High School and is the son of Quinton and Cathy Barbra of Walland. At school he is active on the wrestling and football teams. He is involved with his church and church youth group. His hobbies include hunting and fishing and anything to do with being outside enjoying the mountains.
• Jessica Beaulieu is the daughter of Michelle and Stewart Jeremiah of Maryville. She attends Maryville Christian School where she plays volleyball. She is involved in her church youth group and small group ministries, and she sings in the praise band. She enjoys volunteering at a day care center, nursing homes and at the Pregnancy Resource Center.
• Jamie Brabson attends William Blount High School and is the daughter of Jim and Donna Brabson. At school she is a member for the Soccer Team and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is in the youth group at her church and is a song leader with the contemporary service. Her hobbies include boating, camping and bike riding.
• Caryn Brahams is the daughter of Teri and David Brahams of Alcoa. She attends Alcoa High School where she is in the color guard and concert choir. Outside of school, she is involved with dance and her church youth group. With her free time she enjoys art, scrap booking and other crafts, journaling and laughing with and caring for her friends and family.
• Scott Carter attends Maryville High School and is the son of Pete and Kim Carter. He plays baritone in the band and is active on the Rock Climbing Team. With his free time he participates in Boy Scouts, Venture Crew and at his church he is in the youth group, choir and plays piano for Sunday school. His hobbies include reading, running and biking.
• Carmina de Guia is the daughter of Emmie and Frank Mimbs and JohnFredrick de Guia. She attends Heritage High School where she is in the Key Club and Cultural Diversity Club. Volunteering is Carmina’s passion and she is currently a Junior Volunteer at Blount Memorial Hospital. In her free time she likes to read and listen to music.
• Virginia Hughes attends William Blount High School and is the daughter of Robin Hughes and Jeff Hughes. She is active in the Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC), Social Studies Fair and Color Guard. She spends a lot of time helping around the house. Her hobbies include playing the violin, writing poetry and hunting and fishing.
• Kaitlin Hurley is the daughter of Derrick and Jill Hurley of Maryville and attends Maryville Christian School. She plays basketball, volunteers with Mercy Matters and likes to babysit. She organized a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Her hobbies include reading, swimming and playing guitar.
• Megan Jenkins attends Maryville High School and is the daughter of Mandy McLain. She plays basketball and is on the Freshman Planning Committee at school. Megan volunteers with the Walk for Juvenile Diabetes. Her hobbies include swimming, shopping and reading.
• Barrett Kelly is the son of Robert and Miki Kelly of Maryville. He attends Alcoa High School where he is active in the Key Club and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). His hobbies include drawing, creative writing, radio controlled planes and archery. He enjoys community service and is always willing to help others and enjoys making people smile.
• Breanna Konan attends Alcoa High School and is the daughter of Alicia Waterman. She is involved in the Step Team, Track & Field, FBLA and the Richard Williams Jr. Leadership Academy. Her hobbies include reading, drawing and dancing. Breanna enjoys spending time with family and friends.
• Jesse Poore from Heritage High School is the son of Kelly Ediers. He plays saxophone in the marching and concert bands and is a member of the Timothy Club. He has participated in the science fair, academic bowl and art fair. With his free time he enjoys drawing, writing, music, biking and spending time enjoying the outdoors.
• John Schmidt is the son of Bonnie and David Schmidt and attends Maryville High School. He is active in the Maryville Singers, Scholar’s Bowl and Forensics. He is a Junior Volunteer with Blount Memorial Hospital and also volunteers with Families with Children from China. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, and soccer.
• Kyle Snyder attends Maryville High School and is the son of Todd and Linda Snyder. He plays basketball and soccer with the school and also with the Knoxville Football Club. He is involved with Young Life and church. With his free time he enjoys water sports and spending time with family and friends who describe him as humorous and creative.
• Tori Taylor is the daughter of Dale and Kathy Taylor and attends Heritage High School. Tori plays the saxophone in the concert and marching bands and is in the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). She enjoys volunteering at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. Her favorite hobby is making videos.
• Kyle Tyler attends Alcoa High School and is the son of Sue and Dan Tyler. At school he assists the band manager and participates in student government. He is active in his church with the Altar Guild, Fellowship and youth group. He enjoys working at his families business. When he has time for hobbies they include video games and reading.
• Jonathan Walker is the son of David and Elaine Walker and is home-schooled. He is very involved with 4-H where he is a Teen Leader and member of the Honor Club. He plays trombone with the Knoxville Christian Youth Band and also plays the piano. His hobbies include swimming, golfing and fishing. His passion is volunteering and his most unusual program he volunteers with is Adopt-A-Stream.
• Chris Ward attends William Blount High School and is the son of Jeff and Marcy Ward. He plays football and soccer and assists with the middle school soccer team. He is active in his church with the Altar Guild, Fellowship and youth group. His hobbies include “chilling” with friends, working out or anything with sports. He volunteers with Animal Works and has trained a dog for Canine Companions for Independence.