Reece’s civic involvement ‘produces change’

By LAUREN DOWDLE / For the Reporter

There’s no age requirement to be a true leader — something Samuel Reece, a senior at Montevallo High School, exemplifies.

“The passion and sincerity he exhibits about what he does is very impressive,” says Cheryl Allen, counselor, Montevallo High School. “We have many kids who are involved and many who engage in community service, but Samuel engages in civic involvement and leadership in a way that produces change — and that is something to take note of and applaud.”

As for what makes someone a leader, Reece says it’s all about working with others effectively.

“It takes cooperation skills and empathy to understand other people and how to best to get a project done,” he explains. “It’s also imperative to lead from within a group, using everyone’s skills and ideas to accomplish what needs to get done.”

Those are abilities he’s used and learned from a range of experiences. For example, he interned with the David Mathews Center for Civic Life last summer. He’s also the co-founder and longest standing member of the Montevallo Junior City Council (MJCC) — something he’s especially proud of.

“Our activities have included raising money for athletic teams, creating and running a teen center, creating a discount card program for MHS students to use at local businesses and hosting a Youth Debate for mayoral candidates,” says Reece, the son of Dr. Kristen Gilbert and Dr. Gregory Reece. “My favorite part, and the thing I’m most proud of, is the fact that the MJCC has a member who sits with the City Council and gives reports at every City Council meeting,” he says.

Reece has also been a part of groups like Youth Leadership Shelby County, Alabama Boys State, Montevallo High School Model UN, the SGA, Battle of the Books, the Scholars Bowl team and marching band.

“I know that I’ve had an incredibly lucky life, filled with opportunities lots of people don’t get. If giving to others helps narrow those odds, even a little, then that’s what I should do,” Reece says. “Besides, making someone’s day brighter is always worth your time.”

He’ll be attending the University of Alabama as a member of the University Fellows Experience, which is part of the Honors College. Reece plans to major in political science and work for the government or a non-profit organization after graduating.

“I might also be interested in working behind the scenes in political campaigns for candidates and issues that I care about,” he adds. “I really think that government allows for more than just politics and basic services. When it works correctly, it’s a way for a community to make decisions and work together in transformative ways.”