Lee Academy Students Chosen to Participate in Prestigious Summer Programs.

Lee Academy Students Chosen to Participate in Prestigious Summer Programs.

Several Lee Academy students were chosen to participate in prestigious summer programs this year.

Left to right: Lily Gist, Morgan Hollowell (Girls State); Tatum Young, Alyssa Vassel (Governor's School); Isabel Walker (Lott Leadership); William Walker, Sandy Tillis (Boys State); Olivia Smith (RYLA); Katelyn Brocato, Hallie Reece Pitts (HOBY)

Attending Magnolia Girls State were seniors Lily Gist and Morgan Hollowell. Lily and Morgan joined girls from across the state at the University of Mississippi in June, where they spent a week learning about responsible citizenship, leadership, and the political process by electing officials for all levels of state government and by actively running a mock government. Girls State also provided opportunities for fun activities, competitions, and forming lifelong friendships. According to Morgan, “Girls State was one of the best things I have ever done! I had the honor of serving as my city’s mayor, and I learned to be a leader and make many friends along the way.” Lily said, “If you are worried about the social aspect of Girls State, don’t be! Girls State is the easiest way to make new friends because everyone is friendly and happy to be there.” Both girls will receive a Girls State Scholarship when they attend college after graduation. Lily and Morgan were generously sponsored by the local American Legion Auxiliary.

Boys State delegates were seniors Sandy Tillis and William Walker, who joined young men from all over the state at the University of Mississippi May 28 through June 3. The delegates participated in their city and political party competitions, took active roles in running a mock government, and heard from several elected officials and leaders from across the state about how our government works. Sandy and William were generously sponsored by the local American Legion unit, and they will be awarded a Boys State scholarship their freshman year of college. William says he enjoyed learning about our state’s government and hearing from several Mississippi political leaders. “All of our privileges were earned through athletic competitions in football, basketball, and soccer, so that was fun. Making new friendships that will last a lifetime was one of my favorite things about Boys State.” Sandy commented, “Boys State was a fantastic opportunity, and I especially enjoyed activities like mock trials, elections, and bill writing. I appreciate the opportunity provided for me to socialize with other high school students from all over Mississippi.”

Twelfth grader Olivia Smith was chosen to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Seminar in Olive Branch earlier in the year. RYLA provided an intensive leadership experience, and Olivia was able to build communication and problem-solving skills, learn from community leaders and inspirational speakers, and discover strategies for becoming a dynamic leader in her school and community. Olivia was sponsored through the generosity of the local Rotary Club. Olivia said, “I had so much fun at RYLA! I met so many new friends and will remember the memories we made there forever. RYLA taught me so much about being a leader.”

Juniors Katelyn Brocato and Hallie Reece Pitts were selected to represent Lee Academy as HOBY Student Ambassadors this summer. The Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar was held this year at Mississippi College. Through HOBY’s highly interactive curriculum, Katelyn and Hallie Reece learned how to develop their leadership potential and become part of a network of community change-makers who make a difference in their schools and communities. Hallie said, “The HOBY experience was one I will never forget because I learned how to be a leader in every aspect and to deal with struggles I may face.” “HOBY,” says Katelyn, “taught me leadership skills and how to help my community while still having fun.”

Attending the 42nd session of Mississippi Governor’s School at MUW were seniors Alyssa Vassel and Tatum Young. While there, the girls were enrolled in rigorous interdisciplinary coursework, were actively involved in various team-building activities, and made lifelong friends and memories. To have been selected for Governor’s School and to have spent part of their summer immersed in this unique learning experience is quite an accomplishment. In Tatum’s words, “Governor’s School was a great experience where I was able to get a glimpse of what college life is like living in a dorm and taking classes. I really enjoyed meeting people from all over Mississippi.” Alyssa’s favorite aspects of Governor’s School were “being able to create friendships with people from all over the state and participating in fun team activities such as races, float-building, and dance parties between classes. Also, I was able to engage in thought-provoking, intellectual coursework in a supportive environment.”

Isabel Walker, Lee Academy ninth grader, was selected to attend the Lott Leadership Institute for Rising Ninth Graders at the University of Mississippi this summer. The Lott Institute develops critical thinking and leadership skills so that the soon-to-be high school freshmen return to their schools with the tools they need to be inspired, compassionate, and responsible leaders. Isabel was able to get a feel for the college experience as she spent two weeks living on campus and learning about our government in a class called Problems in American Democracy. “Lott Leadership was an amazing experience for me,” Isabel said. “It taught me great things about politics and government, and I made so many new friendships that I will cherish forever.”