One of the greatest powers is the power to choose.
The saying reverberated throughout the National Council on Youth Leadership of North Central Iowa Chapter's 16th annual youth salute Sunday evening. The event was held at Decker Auditorium at Iowa Central Community College.
The Youth Salute program honors outstanding high school seniors who maintain a high scholastic average and have demonstrated leadership ability in church, school and community.
Joleen Allers, chairperson of the North Central Iowa Board, said, "Young people need applause. They need role models they can admire and emulate. The recognition we give to our young men and women today can serve as a powerful inspiration that can shape their behavior for tomorrow's world."
The youth leaders who spoke at the ceremony all echoed the feelings of appreciation to their families, teachers and everyone involved in helping the program succeed.
"You are our support system and without you, we would not be sitting in these seats right now," said Ashley Quade, of Manson Northwest Webster.
National Council on Youth Leadership Award Winners:
Youth leaders of the year
Tom Brinkman, Pocahontas
Maria Fink, Fort Dodge Senior High
Mary Hallman, Pocahontas
Lee Henely, Southern Cal
Joshua Kerns, Pocahontas
Ashley Quade, Manson Northwest Webster
Kallen Anderson, Southeast Webster Grand
Andrew Bianchi, St. Edmond
Alec Boeckholt, Bishop Garrigan
Callie Border, St. Edmond
Joe Langner, Prairie Valley
Amber Onnan, Manson Northwest Webster
Keri Seiser, Webster City
Elizabeth Savery, Fort Dodge Senior High
Maddie Schaa, Webster City
Carole Harder, an international motivational speaker from Cedar Rapids, challenged the students to take what they learned from the program and apply it to their lives. Harder has worked with several Fortune 500 companies and Olympic athletes.
"What we really want to give young people are roots and wings," Harder said. "Roots that teach them the difference between right and wrong - to let them know that we appreciate and respect them and will always be there for them. Wings to go fly."
She said that the young people are going to do incredible things with the foundation they've worked so hard to build.
She used the tragedy of her oldest daughter dying in a plane crash as a teenager to show she knows through personal experience how challenging life can be and how important it is to be grounded in what a person believes.
Allers, who is retiring from the helm of the council, was named the first person in Fort Dodge to receive the Visionary Youth Leadership Award from the Fort Dodge National Council on Youth Leadership.
"It's worth more than anything at all to recognize these youth leaders. They're wonderful and they're the ones who deserve the praise and recognition," Allers said.
Board member Bob Hade also thanked the youth for their participation in the program.
"You guys are our inspiration," he said. "I can speak entirely for the board when we say thank you for all the hard work that you do."
There were 250 students nominated from 16 schools in Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Kossuth, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright counties. Of the nominees, 154 participated in the program, which began in March.
The 15 semi-finalists for Youth Leaders of the Year were each given an NCYL silver star as a token of appreciation for their hard work.
Out of the 15, six members were named Youth Leaders of the Year. These students have the opportunity to attend a four-day town meeting leadership seminar at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., next month. They will join nearly 100 youth leaders from 20 chapters nationwide and compete for $5,000 in scholarships.
"In hearing all of the goals and objectives of the each of these students shared with us today, I feel pretty good about my future," said board member Ken Hays. "These folks are ready to take over and I'm really excited we're going to have doctors, lawyers and musicians and people to fill all the roles that we are so used to in our world. We're going to be in very fine hands."
Contact Angela Burch at 573-2141 or email@example.com