By Conrad Dudderar
A group of motivated Yukon High School students took over city council chambers this week, conducting a “mock” council meeting as part of their fall leadership class.
Members of the YHS Leaders of Tomorrow joined other student leaders to discuss changing Yukon’s curfew to a later time, updating the city’s noise ordinance and a proposal to open a new rock-climbing center at the “old mill”. They also talked about speeding that occurs on Yukon Parkway before school, during lunch hour and after school.
The debate was all part of their leadership training program.
Attending Tuesday night’s regular city council meeting was a highlight for this year’s 22nd Leaders of Tomorrow, according to YHS leadership advisor Darryl Andrews.
“The students get to see the inner-workings of their local government, first-hand,” Andrews said. “They really appreciate what our city council does to lead Yukon.”
Yukon LOT members joined their advisor to thank council members who stayed in the audience to watch the mock council meeting, which began shortly after 8:30 p.m.
“They have hard decisions to make,” Andrews said of Yukon’s elected officials. “They do it because they love the city.”
Sponsored by the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, Leaders of Tomorrow is a three-month program for YHS freshmen who are potential leaders, proven leaders and non-traditional leaders.
Because the program was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the 2020-22 Leaders of Tomorrow is a “hybrid” class comprised of 13 freshmen and 16 sophomores.
PLAYING THE ROLES
Members of the YHS Leaders of Tomorrow, the YHS Leadership Class and YHS Student Council played the roles of Yukon City Council members, city administrators and citizens during the mock city council:
Carlie Clowdus (mayor), Ashlynn Sanderson (council member), Bryce Bogle (council member), Alma DeLoera (council member), Meleah Wilson, city clerk), Broomika Mistry (city manager), Britten Bengs (police chief), and Grace Phillip (city attorney).
Playing the roles of citizens, business leaders and students were Riley Swafford, Ava Vandersee, Ryan Thomas, Niya Varghese, Gillian Pickering, Keaton Cox, Davis Crabtree, Riley Nelson, Ethan Achipa, Alexa Palomino, Ava Stanley, Kiera Blumof, and Charleigh Ingram.
This is Yukon’s 22nd Leaders of Tomorrow class.
Members of Leaders of Tomorrow participate in weekly activities over several months. This includes personality testing, ropes challenge course, professional day, business site tours, freshman leadership academy, and (still to come) a service project.
The group will graduate during a ceremony at a Yukon Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
“Leaders of Tomorrow is an amazing program, and I would love to be more involved in that,” Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby said after Tuesday night’s meeting. “It’s great to show our kids what city government is all about. I was very impressed.”
Longtime Yukon banker David Goodwin of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce and Ernie Gomez (then of Southwestern Bell) were instrumental in bringing Leaders of Tomorrow to Yukon in the late 1990s.
Goodwin was presented a certificate of appreciation at Tuesday night’s mock city council meeting.
To this day, Goodwin remains a strong advocate and self-proclaimed “cheerleader” for the YHS Leaders of Tomorrow.
Mayor Selby thanked Andrews and Goodwin for all their efforts to coordinate the present the program.