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Lee County Young Leaders

Program Vision: Ensuring our youth are prepared as leaders to meet future challenges that arise in our city, county, and state.

Program Description: It is a county-wide program designed to nurture and develop positive leadership qualities in our high school students. We want to create successful leaders in Lee County and this program should give the students of our area the knowledge, tools, and contacts to do so. The ultimate goal is that graduates of the Lee County Young Leaders program will possess a unique understanding and appreciation of the inner workings of their community and will return home as excellent future candidates to serve on local boards, committees, and task forces.

Program Goals:

  • To select a diverse class of highly motivated participants who represent the diversity of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups in Lee County, Alabama.
  • To explore the diverse facets of Lee County’s government, business, economic development, health care, criminal justice, and other aspects of community life.
  • To instill and nurture a sense of social responsibility in our youth.
  • To provide opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to meet and develop mutual understanding, respect, and trust.
  • To offer participants opportunities for volunteer community involvement and service.
  • To encourage our youth to find satisfying job opportunities so he/she will come home to Lee County, Alabama to live, learn, work, worship, play, raise his/her family.

Program Format and Participation      

Lee County Young leaders begins in September and consists of one session per month until April 2023. In addition, there will be a mandatory orientation session in the month prior to the first class session and a Graduation in April. Participants are exposed to a variety of viewpoints that illustrate the political, educational, and social factors at work in Lee County. They will meet area leaders in business, media, government, education, and service organizations. The student also receives a 1-hour Leadership credit to Southern Union State Community College.

Participants must make a commitment to the program. Attendance at each monthly session are prerequisites for graduation from the program. Participants will be allowed to miss two full-day sessions due to illness or a death in the family. Students missing more than 2 full-day sessions will be dismissed from the program.

While we certainly understand that students are busy, we have high expectations for this program in order for our students to accomplish the many learning objectives. Also, because of the tremendous amount of time and effort that goes into planning our sessions, we need all of the students present for the ENTIRE day.

For the students selected to participate in our program, we stress that the students need to make arrangements with their teachers, coaches, band/choir directors, etc. so that they can attend for the full day. We ask that the school’s administration help our students with this so that they can make up any work and/or activities that they miss as a result of participating in this program.

Selection Process

Thirty-four (34) juniors and seniors in high schools, home schools and private schools in Lee County are chosen for the program through an application process. The applications are judged anonymously based on application neatness, extracurricular activities, career choice and hobbies, and leadership potential.

To participate in the Lee County Young Leaders Program, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Reside in Lee County, Alabama.
  • Attend a city or county regionally accredited high school, private or home school in Lee County.
  • Must be willing and able to attend all the sessions.
  • Be an 11th grade or 12th grade student during the period of the class program.
  • Must be up to date on Core Classes.
  • Maintain a 3.0 Grade-Point Average.
  • Provide own transportation to Session.


Program Dates & Times (2022-2023 Academic Year)

For each of the following dates, the students will meet at the Lee County Board of Education Building (2410 Society Hill Road, Opelika, AL 36804). With the exception of the orientation, which will last from 2:00pm to 3:15pm, all session days will last from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

August 28, 2022 – Introductions & Orientation Day

September 13, 2022 – Team Building Day

October 4, 2022 – Education Day

November 1, 2022 – Public Safety Day

December 6, 2022 – Health & Human Services Day

January 10, 2023 - Economic Development Day

February 7, 2023 – Judicial Day

March 7, 2023 – State Government Day

April 4, 2023 – Local Government Day

April 25, 2023 – Graduation Day

Program Contact

Mackenzie Poole


MEET THE 2022-2023 CLASS


Addison Kees

Smiths Station High School


Allie Prescott

Opelika High School


Aniyah Coston

Smith Stations High School


Ashleigh Pitts

Opelika High School


Cate Herring

Auburn High School


Delacey Wilkerson

Auburn High School


Emily Ludwig

Smiths Station High School

Ethan Clark

Ethan Clark

Trinity Christian School

Ethan Kim

Ethan Kim

Lee-Scott Academy


Elena Kim

Auburn High School


Evelyn Cherry

Auburn High School

2022 LCYL

Evelyn Tomas

Loachapoka High School


Jakeeria Melton

Loachapoka High School


JaNiah Hoskins

Smiths Station High School

Jenna Neal

Jenna Neal

Smith Stations High School

Jenna Solis

Jenna Solis

Glenwood School


Jenniffer Coxwell

Beulah High School


Jordan Ballard

Loachapoka High School


Keely Rider

Opelika High School


Madelyn Massey

Auburn High School


Mamie Nicholson

Opelika High School


Matt Martin

Beauregard High School


Maya Equivel-McKinnon

Lee-Scott Academy

2022 LCYL

Miracle Mclennon

Loachapoka High School


Nolen Wilson

Opelika High School


Parker Scales

Auburn High School


Patrick Seymore

Opelika High School


Phillips Lane

Lee-Scott Academy


Robert Sanborn

Smith Stations High School

Sarah Ashley

Sarah Ashley Forthofer

Auburn High School


Susanna Washburn

Trinity Christian School


Tasha Judkins

Smiths Station High School

2022-2023 Young Leaders Board of Directors

Mackenzie Poole, Director - Opelika Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Jason Wright, Chair - Lee County Schools

Andrea Mitchell, Vice Chair - City of Auburn, Economic Development

Judy Jones, Secretary - Retired Social Worker

Pam Norris, Treasurer - AMSTI Auburn University

Gina Allen - Auburn University at Montgomery

Tara Barr - Extension Office

James Bush - City of Opelika

Vertrina Grubbs - Southern Union


Jamie Lowe - Administrator for Judge Fellows

Andre Marcus - East Alabama Health

Wendy Mickle - ESG Operations, LLC

Katie Murray - Opelika City Schools

Marie Harris - Auburn City Schools

Myles Tatum - MisSouth Paving Inc.

Gary Branch, Ex-Offico - Southern Union State Community College

Ali Rauch, Ex-Offico - Opelika Chamber of Commerce

Anna Hovey, Ex-Officio - Auburn Chamber of Commerce

If you would like more information on Opelika Chamber's committees & councils, contact

Mackenzie Poole, Director of Leadership & Events at