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NCYL honors area high school seniors

Six will attend ‘Town Meeting of Tomorrow’

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Six area high school seniors were selected as finalists for the National Council on Youth Leadership Town Meeting of Tomorrow Youth Leader Awards. Front row: Major Johnson, Manson Northwest Webster High School; Jozey Gump, Eagle Grove High School; Kyler Sander, South Central Calhoun High School. Back row: Ty Williamson, Fort Dodge Senior High; Mihir Modi, Algona High School; Erin Zeka, Southeast Valley High School.

Dozens of area young adults were honored Sunday night during the 27th Annual Youth Salute Recognition Ceremony for the North Central Iowa Area Council of the National Council on Youth Leadership.

In the Bioscience Auditorium at Iowa Central Community College, the students, representing high schools from Algona, Eagle Grove, Fort Dodge, Humboldt, Manson Northwest Webster, Pocahontas Area, South Central Calhoun, Southeast Valley, St. Edmond and Webster City, were recognized for their leadership efforts in their schools and communities.

“We want to applaud you and recognize you as balanced young people who understand the importance in giving back and have already made a significant difference in the world,” speaker Ken Hays told the students.

In addition to being recognized for their contributions to the NCYL, the high school seniors were waiting to hear the results of the Town Meeting of Tomorrow Youth Leader Awards. The Town Meeting is an annual conference held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in October for NCYL students from across the country. Two former finalists shared what they gained from the experience.

Nate Montgomery, who is now a freshman at Drake University, learned how to navigate today’s often polarizing political landscape using the leadership skills he honed at the Town Meeting last year.

Lexi Jeno, a student at ICCC, said the experience has made a huge impact on her life.

“The skills that I have learned from NCYL and TMOT have helped me become student body president of Iowa Central and a successful student in the dental hygiene program,” she said. “I would not be where I am today without these experiences. I learned how to be a better leader and how to apply leadership techniques in my life.”

Of the 94 members of the North Central Iowa chapter of NCYL, 15 were selected as semifinalists. Of those 15 semifinalists, six finalists were selected.

The semifinalists were Lauren Erickson, Humboldt High School; Megan Dawson and Courtney Wubben, Manson Northwest Webster High School; Megan Decker, South Central Calhoun High School; Jaedyn Condon, Milena Naughton and Jed Tracy, St. Edmond High School; and Carter Neuroth and Adalie Schwandt, Webster City High School.

The six finalists were Mihir Modi, Algona High School; Jozey Gump, Eagle Grove High School; Ty Williamson, Fort Dodge Senior High; Major Johnson, Manson Northwest Webster High School; Kyler Sander, South Central Calhoun High School; and Erin Zeka, Southeast Valley High School.

In her parting words, Jeno had a very important reminder for the students.

“While being in NCYL is a wonderful thing, this is only the beginning of your leadership journey,” she said.