Leadership La Porte County recently completed its annual high school leadership program with more than 50 high school students participating from La Porte County high schools. Each high school in La Porte County was asked to nominate 5 students for participation in the program. Participating high schools included: La Crosse, La Lumiere, La Porte, Marquette Catholic, Michigan City, New Prairie, South Central and Westville. One home schooled student also participated. Four all-day sessions were held at different locations around the county—Red Mill County Park, the La Porte County Complex, and Cummings Lodge. Facilitators for the seminars were Leadership Executive Director, Monica Komasinski, and Jim Jessup, a founding board member of Leadership La Porte County and long-time volunteer. Nine students from last year’s class served as student leaders. They were: Andréa Franklin (LaPorte), Peyton Rodgers (Westville), Logan Notaro (South Central), Kate Zientarski (Marquette), Sydney Moody (New Prairie), Mya Morrow (La Crosse), Trevor Cary (La Lumiere) and Julia Miller (Michigan City). The program was funded by a community grant from the Unity Foundation.

The students participated in activities to enhance their leadership skills such as communication, problem solving, team-building, collaboration, and decision-making. At the opening session they did a personality assessment in order to better understand group dynamics and individual personality traits. At the County Complex the group toured the County Jail, heard from Sheriff John Boyd and interviewed a panel of offenders. Sonshine Troche and Jenny Rohrer from Worthy Women Recovery Home offered the students a message on compassion and maintaining a positive self-image.

The final session featured a panel of young professionals including Bert Cook, Carrie Campbell and Justin Kiel. The panelists held a question and answer session with students. They discussed their leadership journey and gave inspiring advice to the students. The students also reported on their team community service projects which included Lake Michigan beach clean-up, fundraiser for Riley Children’s Hospital, military care packages and homeless center donations. Each participant received a certificate of completion and a commemorative tee shirt. Next year’s student leaders were chosen. They are Olivia Zarantonello and Jimmy Marony (LaPorte), Kaitlyn Bishop (Westville), Brady Glisic (South Central), Luke Trinks (Marquette), Chase Ketterer (New Prairie), Natalie Buckman (La Crosse), Jibreel Hoskins (Michigan City) Elena Sofia Alick (La Lumiere) and Owen Ott (home school).

For more information about Leadership La Porte County or its youth programs, contact Executive Director, Monica Komasinski at 219-325-8223 or by email at info@leadershiplaportecounty.com.
Monica Komasinski