21st YHS Leaders of Tomorrow class graduates at Chamber luncheon

Group breaks the ceiling with the largest ever number of members

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Graduates of the Yukon High School Leaders of Tomorrow program Olivia Wright, Abby Renfro, Summer Mathena, and Emma McMahon, tell Yukon Chamber of Commerce members about their experiences and what they've learned. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

By Carol Mowdy Bond

Contributing Writer

The record-largest graduating group of Yukon High School freshmen Leaders of Tomorrow gave a presentation on Feb. 13 during the Yukon Chamber of Commerce’s February membership luncheon at 10 W. Main.

Sutton Clark, Colin Nelson, Taya McReynolds, and Coy Pope discuss their experiences as members of the annual Yukon High School Leaders of Tomorrow program. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Each student was part of the program, then graduated and was awarded a certificate and T-shirt. The Yukon Chamber provided the certificates.

This was the 21st group for the program, with 35 freshmen participating. The 35-member YHS Leaders of Tomorrow class wrapped up its scheduled activities with a service project at the Ronald McDonald House in Oklahoma City.

YHS Leadership advisor Darryl “Mr. A.” Andrews told luncheon attendees that many members of the YHS Leaders of Tomorrow class will use the skills they developed next November when Yukon hosts Oklahoma’s annual Student Council Convention for three days.

Approximately 3,200 people from 220 schools across the state will attend, converging on Yukon. He said sponsors are needed for the events.

Andrews explained how the YHS Leaders of Tomorrow program has encouraged and strengthened young leaders for 21 years.

Yukon High School Leadership advisor Darryl Andrews and longtime program supporter David Goodwin discuss the YHS Leadership program and the graduates during the Feb. 13 luncheon. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Longtime Yukon banker David Goodwin of RCB Bank, the program’s liaison for the Yukon Chamber, said, “No other program in the state is like this one, though others have tried in other areas of Oklahoma. Our school system in Yukon is a significant part of what’s growing our community and families in Yukon. Each year the kids get better and brighter than the last year.”

Goodwin thanked the Chamber and the school for letting this program continue.

“Ever since we started, we’ve averaged between 18 and 25,” Andrews said. “The interest has grown and this freshman group has really been go-getters. They’ve seemed excited about everything that we’ve done and have taken advantage of a lot of them. Probably two-thirds of them are in my leadership class.”

SESSIONS COMPLETED

Yukon High School Leaders of Tomorrow graduates Kati Weeks, Reagan Oltmanns, Von Paul McWaters, and Alexia Chavez tell about their projects. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

The 2019-20 Yukon Leaders of Tomorrow group began meeting in September and have completed sessions on personality testing, public speaking, ropes challenge course, professional day/business site tours, freshman leadership academy, and mock city council meeting.

Andrews said Leadership of Tomorrow alumni “really talked it up” this year to encourage YHS freshmen to apply.

Sponsors for the 2019 Leaders of Tomorrow program were: Yukon Public Schools; David Goodwin of RCB Bank; Yukon Chamber of Commerce; Yukon National Bank; Fairfield Inn and Suites; City of Yukon; Genie Vinson; Julie and Jason Simeroth; Spanish Cove Housing Authority; Canadian Valley Technology Center; KOKH Channel 25; Will Rogers World Airport, and Ronald McDonald House.

The 2019 graduates are: Kati Weeks, Sutton Clark, Ellie Brazell, Taya McReynolds, Harper Barlow, Von Paul McWaters, Cade Flannery, Coy Pope, Chloe Rich, Isis Cain, Alexia Chavez, Caitlen Crosby, Ivan Crittendon, Tessa Gambill, Stella Gitau, Libbie Hughs, Hayley Jacob, Presley Jobe, Lexa Jones, Summer Mathena, Emma McMahon, Paola Murillo, Colin Nelson< Gage Novosad, Reagan Oltmanns, Kennedy Porvence, Ashley Rameriz, Abby Renfro, Madelyn Rhoda, Avery Sims, Shadrach Sims, Shanna Vargnese, Olivia Wright, Aleena Zachariah, and Joanna Zachariah.

The Yukon High School Leaders of Tomorrow graduates pose for a class photo at the Yukon Chamber’s February membership luncheon. Each student received a certificate and a T-shirt. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Andrews, who has taught at Yukon Public Schools since 1985, said the Leaders of Tomorrow program never gets old for him.

“It’s one of my favorite activities we get to do,” he said. “Seeing where they are when they come in here, the opportunity they have and how they grow from it, is really rewarding.”

Goodwin and Ernie Gomez (then of Southwestern Bell) were instrumental in bringing Leaders of Tomorrow to Yukon in 1998. They met with then-YPS Superintendent Terry Dean, who suggested Andrews lead the program.

To this day, Goodwin is a major supporter and cheerleader of the YHS Leaders of Tomorrow Program. He helps enlist business sponsors and places to host activities.