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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.
2024 LCYL Sponsors1

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 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 Format and Participation      

Lee County Young leaders begins in September and consists of one session per month until April 2024. 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.

Program Dates & Times (2024-2025 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 25, 2024 – Introductions & Orientation Day
  • September 10, 2024 – Team Building Day
  • October 1, 2024 – Education Day
  • November 6, 2024 – Public Safety Day
  • December 3, 2024 –Judicial Day
  • January 14, 2025 - Economic Development Day
  • February 4, 2025 – Health & Human Services Day
  • March 6, 2025 – State Government Day
  • April 3, 2025 – Local Government Day
  • TBD – Graduation Day

Program Contact

Mackenzie Poole


MEET THE 2023-2024 CLASS


Anita Duncan

Opelika High School


Hayley Ponds

Opelika High School

Smith T

Joanne Smith T

Opelika High School


Lydia Hilyer

Opelika High School


Shirley Pugh

Opelika High School


Tristan Tatum

Opelika High School


Violett Alcorn

Opelika High School


Emily Jiang

Auburn High School


Harper Olsen

Auburn High School


JD Dallas

Auburn High School


Mary Margaret Buck

Auburn High School


Suyeon Shin

Auburn High School


Ty Barnes

Auburn High School


Will Bao

Auburn High School


Emory Newland


J Luke

Jakayla Luke

Beauregard High School


Karlyn Mullins

Beauregard High School


Cassi Pagan

Beulah High School


Clara Burke

Beulah High School


Anessia Brothers

Glenwood School


Trammell Shell

Lakeview Christian School


Chloe Clinard

Lee-Scott Academy


Emily Yang

Lee-Scott Academy


Jake Cummings

Lee-Scott Academy

2022 LCYL

Jay Collins

Lee-Scott Academy


Mallory Wheeles

Lee-Scott Academy


Stephen Shropshire

Trinity Christian School


Jeremiah Darlington

Loachapoka High School


Lorin White

Loachapoka High School


Byrdie Ella Coleman

Smiths Station High School


Kayla Brownlee

Smiths Station High School


Libby-Kate Posey

Smiths Station High School

L Long

Rena Long

Smiths Station High School


Nicolai Shomaker

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

2023 Updated LCYL Sponsors

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

Mackenzie Poole, Director of Leadership & Events at