Twenty-three local students were sworn in at the Sept. 21 Valdosta City Council meeting to serve on the 2017-2018 Valdosta Youth Council (VYC). The VYC, initiated by Mayor John Gayle in 2015, inspires and prepares 7th-9th grade local students for leadership and civic opportunities, while allowing them to gain a better understanding of municipal government and community service.
Selection was based on academics, involvement in school and community organizations, leadership potential, and a written recommendation from a school administrator.
The City of Valdosta congratulates the following VYC members:
Juan Angel, 8th grade, VMS
Joseph Butters, 7th grade, Classical Conversations
Ella Dampier, 8th grade, St. John
Emily Dinkins, 7th grade, St. John
Will Gerber, 8th grade, St. John
Daniel Holcombe, 8th grade, St. John
Dalemetrius Huff, 9th grade, VHS
Paris Jackson, 8th grade, J.L. Newbern
Nikerria Jones, 8th grade, J.L. Newbern
Kaightlyn Jowers, 8th grade, VMS
Isabel Kassum, 8th grade, St. John
Erin Kelly, 9th grade, VHS
Cristalynn Lee, 8th grade, J.L. Newbern
Abbi Long, 9th grade, VHS
Sean Manning, 9th grade, VHS
Nevin Miller, 8th grade, St. John
Catriona Moore, 7th grade, St. John
Clancy Claire Perry, 9th grade, Valwood
Zandayja Rollins, 9th grade, VHS
Toni Salami, 8th grade, VMS
Shadasia Solomon, 7th grade, J.L. Newbern
Kiara Thomas, 8th grade, VMS
Zachary Williams, 8th grade, VMS
“I look forward to working alongside these young leaders throughout the school year, hearing their concerns and suggestions, and witnessing the impact they will have on their peers and within our community,” said Mayor John Gayle.
The 2017-2018 VYC members, 10 of whom are returning from the previous year, are following an immensely successful 2016-2017 program year, which included several substantial accomplishments, such as:
- Partnering with the Lowndes Youth Leadership League for a trip to the state capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, where the youth learned about state government and interacted with state leadership.
- Collectively completed more than 112 community service hours—a minimum of 8 hours each.
- Culminating their anti-bullying campaign by partnering with John Maxwell Certified Speaker Lynne Brown to host the Valdosta Youth Explosion event in May 2017, held in the Valdosta City Hall Annex during Georgia Cities Week, in which nearly 80 youth representing six local city and county schools were united in their stand against bullying.
The VYC is guided by a VYC Advisory Board appointed by Mayor John Gayle, who serves as the head of the board. The 2017-2018 VYC Advisory Board members are: Laurie Wallace of St. John Catholic School, James White of J.L. Newbern Middle School, Alvin Payton, Jr., Valdosta Mayor Pro Tem & District 4 Councilman, and city staff members Teresa Bolden, Sementha Mathews and Marcus McConico.
The VYC meetings are open to the general public. For more information, contact City Clerk Teresa Bolden at 229-259-3503 or Public Information Officer Sementha Mathews at 229-259-3548. Citizens may also visit the VYC webpage for more information, or follow the VYC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ValdostaYouthCouncil.