Shelby County students graduate from youth leadership program

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – Young students from across Shelby County that are dedicated to making a difference walked up to accept their certificates as part of the graduating Youth Leadership Shelby County Class of 2023.

Leadership Shelby County held its annual Youth Leadership Shelby County Graduation Dinner and Program on Tuesday, April 25.

The Youth Leadership Shelby County Program is offered to students in the county who are currently in the 11th grade and aims to encourage young people to be socially conscientious leaders of the future by providing them with the experience, vision and opportunity to lead.

Students worked through a six-month program in which they met community decision makers and engaged with them on a variety of topics.

“This (is an) opportunity to pour into the youth before they hit their senior year to shape a little bit of their thoughts about what is actually going on in our county, some (of the) real issues that we have,” County Manager Chad Scroggins said. “It’s an opportunity that we do not take lightly. We’re very, very proud to have this opportunity.”

This year’s guest speaker, Marquis Forge, provided those in attendance with a motivational speech that encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities they are afforded to better their home community.

“Your time and chance happens now,” Forge said. “The parents, grandparents, guardians—they pretty much did their pulling, but it’s now that your time and chance happens now. This is a pre-graduation to your graduation next year where you are going to go off into the real world.

“Tonight, young leaders, I want you to find out what you’re supposed to be doing in life. I want it to infect you and when it infects you I don’t want anybody to stop you in doing what you are doing.”

During the youth leadership program, students were also given an opportunity to work on community projects together, alongside a nonprofit organization, to find a way to make their home county a better place.

“It was an honor serving alongside other Leadership Shelby County alumni to mentor Youth LSC project groups this year,” Group Three Leader Neal Wagner said. “We had an outstanding group of future leaders this year, and they never cease to amaze me. It’s always a joy to watch students—most of who don’t know each other at the beginning of the program—come together to conceptualize, plan and execute meaningful projects that create tangible benefits for those in need in Shelby County. We had the pleasure of hearing about all of these projects at Youth LSC graduation last week, and the work the kids did was nothing short of incredible. LSC and Youth LSC are amazing programs, and I can’t say enough about the good they do for our county.”

The following students graduated as part of the Youth Leadership Shelby County Class of 2023:

Briarwood Christian School

  • Aylah Grappo
  • John Mark Williams

Calera High School

  • Savannah Moore
  • Tamia Fairbanks

Chelsea High School

  • Anderson Brooks
  • Gabrielle Finney
  • Madison Burton

Evangel Christian School

  • Sweden Petry

John Carrol High School

  • Sophia Samaniego

Vincent High School

  • Chloe Abrams
  • Mattson Davis

Helena High School

  • Anna Beth Goodman
  • Caitlyn Copeland
  • Fin Unnoppet
  • Jeremy Gudino
  • Riley Hollabaugh
  • Troy Morris

Montevallo High School

  • Allie Herring
  • Aylin Almora-Sosa

Oak Mountain High School

  • Ashley Legenzoff
  • Carter Austin
  • Gage Cornelius
  • JD Cound
  • Leena Dang
  • Yeseung Shin

Pelham High School

  • Brooke Bethers
  • Jessica Ferguson
  • Miranda Pierce
  • Molly Seales

Shelby County High School

  • Campbell Kellis
  • Chloe Carden
  • Micah Swain
  • Sarah Elizabeth Shelton

Thompson High School

  • Audrey-Green
  • Gabi Page
  • Josue Serrato-Munoz
  • Katie Collier
  • Sam Zoebelein
  • Zachary Sims

Those interested in learning more about the youth leadership program may visit