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New Year for Hickman County High and Chamber Youth Leadership program
Hickman County High sophomores listen to presentation.

(Clinton, KY) - It's a new year at Hickman County High School as classes begin for 2014-2015.

That means a new school year for the sixth class of Hickman County Chamber of Commerce Leadership students. On Friday, August 15, HCHS sophomores gathered in the school library to hear what the program's all about. Some already had a pretty good idea because old brothers and sisters have been in the program.

The first step of the Leadership Program began during the summer when leaders met to plan the year ahead. The second step was to pitch the program to potential young leaders. This year, two students from the 2013-2014 winning Leadership Program team led the pitch.

The winning team's problem focused on advertising the Hickman County Spring Chicken Festival, designing a marketing campaign around a YouTube video. Under program rules, all members of the team were required to contribute to solving the problem. At the pitch on Friday, team members Savanna Sublette and Max Jewell told potential young leaders that they were changed by participation in the Leadership Program.

Max learned he could be a good video narrator. Savanna sharpened her considerable artistic skills by making the white board drawings which were then fast sequenced by the team. Both used skills they had never used before.

The Hickman County Student Leadership Program is intensive and demanding.

Students begin with an overnight retreat with intensive individual and group activities. At the conclusion of the retreat, they are informed of their team assignments. Team assignments are made by high school teachers who try to avoid cliques, grouping students in an array of talents and interests.

The teams then choose a research topic. Throughout the school year, they will work on their topic at scheduled work days in the school computer room with adult leaders' guidance.

At the end of the school year, each team submits a research paper and makes a presentation on their topic to community leaders and their families. Teams are judged and winners get a cash award.

This year, parents will be invited to a cookout and orientation. Students must make up missed work and have a dress code for field trips. Attendance at all events is mandatory. While there is no charge for participation, students must work throughout the year on their project and their notebooks, without lowering their grades. Costs of the programs come from the Chamber, the School Board, local organizations and individuals.

A big part of the program is student visits to local industries, hearing presentations from government officials and business people. Students are pre and post tested on each field day. Each team is responsible for one press release with photos on a theme day.

Now that the pitch has been made, the final step of the beginning is students submitting applications to become the 2014-2015 Leadership Class. Sponsors are hoping for 15-20 participants this year.

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