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Weirton Chamber program graduates 30 future leaders

FUTURE LEADERS — Members of the 2019 class of Youth Leadership Weirton are pictured following their graduation from the program Sunday. The annual program is organized by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, with assistance through a grant from ArcelorMittal. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Thirty area high school sophomores took a new step toward being potential leaders Sunday as they completed their journey through this year’s Youth Leadership Weirton program.

Youth Leadership Weirton is organized each year by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, which held a graduation luncheon Sunday at Undo’s in Weirton attended by the class, their families and guests.

“We’ve been doing this program now for about 21 years, and we take a lot of pride in working with the students,” chamber President Brenda Mull said, in welcoming those in attendance.

Each Youth Leadership Weirton class is comprised of 30 students representing four area high schools: Weir High, Weirton Madonna, Brooke High and Oak Glen High. Much of the selection, Mull explained, is the result of an essay focusing on what the student would do if they were principal for a day. The committee reviewing the essays receive no information on the names of the students.

“No one is selected because of who they are or who they aren’t,” Mull said.

Beginning in the fall, the class participates in a series of seminars to give them a taste of the business work as well as issues they may face throughout their careers.

Mull also expressed her appreciation to ArcelorMittal, which, for the last three years, has provided the chamber with a grant to assist with the costs of Youth Leadership Weirton and the chamber’s High School Business Symposium.

“They, too, believe this program is worthwhile,” Mull noted.

The program kicks off with a teamwork session at Elkhorn Valley, where they are asked to go through a ropes course.

“It creates a lot of friendships and makes it more memorable,” Mull said, noting the students may face some of their own fears in the process.

Other sessions discuss areas such as setting goals, ethics, personalities and how they work together, and it concludes with a “SIMSOC.”

From their experiences, the students revealed they learned more about themselves, including that they may hesitate when they are unsure of their decisions, that they should work to put the needs of others into perspective, and how different their views may be from even a few months ago as a result of the program.

Members of the Youth Leadership Weirton Class of 2019, and their schools, are:

• Brooke High School: Paige DiGiovanni, Sidney Felouzis, Taylor Kolb, Emma Kuzminsky, Thomas Packer, Jason Polgar, Ethan Robey and Alexis Spensky

• Oak Glen High School: Jacob Clark, Connor Gibson, Ethan Hurl, Alayna Kranis, Brooklyn Loveland, Brayden Mineard and Lexi Rheinhardt

• Weir High School: Sam Antol, Kayla Baselj, Sarah Burskey, Alexia Davis and Amaya Schoonover

• Weirton Madonna High School: Madison Bine, Elyse Chartier, Sydney Crawford, Maddi Daugherty, Jordan Dillon, Marianna Martinez, Jazzy Melnyk, Chris Noble, Mallorie O’Brien and Krista Velegol.

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