Under the theme ‘Peace through Leadership’ the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards’ (RYLA) Workshop, formerly ‘Seminar 4 Tomorrow’s Leaders,’ was held this past weekend in Islamorada, Florida.
The objective of the workshop is to afford high school students from around the world the opportunity to share ideas with their peers, develop their leadership skills, broaden their horizons, while at the same time forging long lasting friendships with like-minded individuals.
This year, four students from Jack Hayward High School (JHHS) were selected to participate in the workshop, – tenth graders Terron Bain and Vo-Nique Brown; eleventh grader Elysha Darville and twelfth grader and Head Girl, Mikayla Kemp.
As the tenth graders were selected to participate in the workshop by the Rotary Club of Sunset, president of the Club Phil Armbrister and Administrator of New Generations, Donald Ward shared their thoughts on the two students representing their club prior to them traveling to Florida.
“I am proud that we selected two excellent students. We did a thorough canvass during our selection process and I am very pleased with the two students. I am sure that they will represent us well. Hopefully, by participating in the RYLA, these students will, perhaps, become Rotarians in the future,” Armbrister noted.
Ward added, “This Rotary Youth Conference affords young persons, from the ages of 14 to 17 to talk about their problems in their communities, whichever community they live, things that young people need to see in order to make a difference and formulate ideas.”
Ward noted that students from Grand Bahama have participated in the program for well over 20 years. “Originally it was named, the ‘Seminar 4 Tomorrow’s Leaders,’ but recently the name changed to the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA).”
Questioned on the selection process Ward revealed, “We go into the high school system, preferably the government schools, where the guidance councillors and principals identify eligible students for the program,” said Ward.
As four students attending JHHS participated in this year’s RYLA Conference, principal Yvonne Ward stated that it is indeed a feat that she and the entire school are most proud of.
“All of them are excellent scholars. One or two of them are on the Principal’s List, but they are all academic students and they all have good character.
“They are all talented, well-rounded students. We thought that they would be a good representation not only of the school, but also of the country; to interact with other young people, talk about their schools and see how they can perhaps solve some of the problems that we are having, which I am sure would be similar to the problems some of the other students are having in their schools and in their country.
“Vo-Nique and Terron are tenth graders … we wanted to start with them so that they can grow up in the program, as opposed to choosing twelfth graders, who will be leaving in a couple of months. I feel that if they get involved, they may probably want to become Interact (Rotary Club sponsored organization for teenagers) members themselves, becoming more involved in the Rotary Program, possibly participating in their exchange programs after they have finished high school. I want them to become more involved in the programs that Rotary has to offer.”
The duo shared their thoughts on being selected to participate in the workshop, before making the weekend trip.
“It is an honor for me to have been chosen to participate in this trip, considering that I was chosen out of all of the tenth grade boys at the school.
“It means that there is something special about me that I stand out among the rest. I hope to learn new things when I travel to the conference, meet new people and make new friends.”
Bain shared that upon completion of his high school career, he intends to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.
Brown noted, “I am very elated and excited to be a part of this wonderful RYLA. Making decisions for our country so that we call can benefit from it is something that I love doing. I try to fix everyone’s problems; doing that is something that I definitely love to do.
“I like meeting new people and making new friends. After high school I intend to go off to school and study dermatology, following which I intend to study music.”
Proud parents of the two students shared what it meant to them, knowing that their children were travelling to the international RYLA workshop.
Bain’s father Terrance Bain said, “I was excited as well. I knew that he was talented and to see now that someone else now sees his talent … I am interested to find out where it will go from here. This is a new journey for them, tapping into the young minds at this age level. I look forward to following it and seeing where it goes.”
Deidre Bain, Terron’s mother also shared her excitement knowing that her son would be attending the event in Islamorada, Florida. “I too was happy that others identified the gift in him. That is something that I have always prayed for, that others would see the gift that God has placed in him and that it would be revealed.”
The Bains shared that they are both very proud of their son and are ready for the journey that is ahead for him.
Brown’s mother Valencia Brown revealed, “It is indeed a privilege that my daughter has been chosen to represent not only her school and her family, but also that of the nation. She and her peers will get together and not only exchange when it comes to culture, but also ideas on how they can better their various communities and countries.
“It is an honor that her leadership ability has been identified at such an early age. Usually, we have a tendency to overlook the possibilities of our youth, at this age, being the future leaders.
“The fact that someone saw the possibilities of them being future leaders, makes me excited as a mother; it goes beyond being proud. I am just excited that she had the ability to be chosen. I feel that this is both she and Terron’s season and I believe that what they are going to learn over the weekend will be beneficial to them, their school, their homes, their communities and eventually this nation.
The RYLA 2017 workshop was held February 10-12.
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2017