The Legacy Youth Institute (LYI), a six-session leadership and mentoring program designed to equip student leaders to pass on the area’s “Ozark Mountain Spirit” to future generations, held its fifth session at the College of the Ozarks last week.
During the session, titled “Championing Future,” LYI students heard from College of the Ozarks Dean of Admissions, Dr. Marci Linson, as well as faculty members Natalie Rasnick and Andrew Bolger, about the value of higher education and the total college experience for both professional and personal development. Students were encouraged to begin thinking about their plans for life after high school, and what steps they could begin taking to reach their goals.
“We believe that if students are planning to go to college, they might take time to consider whether the qualities of a particular higher education institution - its mission, culture, offered majors, and student life – would be a good ‘fit’ for their personal and career goals,” said Sue Head, Dean of Character Education.
The information and encouragement the LYI students received from the panel seemed to energize them to take the next step toward their plans after high school. Reeds Spring student Jessica Reed said, “I realize that the college application process is not as intimidating as you would think. You just have to take the next step.” Mackenzie Murphy, a student at Hurley, said “It can feel difficult to get started in the right direction for college, but I know it is definitely worth it.”
Hollister student Taylor Van Gilder reflected, “It was great to hear how important it can be to have shared values with the institution you choose to attend after high school. If you are satisfied with the institution, the more involved you will be.”
The students also heard from several people about careers: Jeremy Rasnick, a park ranger; Darcy Walker, an assistant manager at Andy’s Frozen Custard; Matt Farmer, a nurse and the owner of Vintage Paris Coffee Shop; and Matt Grindstaff, entrepreneur and co-owner of Edit Access, who all have taken unique paths to reach the careers they have today. This panel provided insight to LYI students about the importance of identifying their interests as they consider their future education and career paths, as well as developing the skills and character traits necessary to be a top candidate for hire.
“I learned a lot about things you need to do to make a good impression at a job interview,” said Jacob Ray, a student from Hurley. Reeds Spring student Megan Hill said, “I was challenged to be a person they would hire.”
The panel also encouraged students to persevere even when challenging obstacles present themselves. Recalling the wisdom of the panel, Reeds Spring student Phillip Todd said, “The best opportunities are sometimes disguised as problems.” And for all those students who are unsure of, or indecisive about, their career choice, the panel gave plenty of encouragement. Alie Lawrence, student at Hurley, said, “It was obvious from the experience on the panel that things can change fast with your career choice. And, that is an extremely ok thing.”
Over the next couple of months, LYI students from each high school represented will develop a student-led initiative that champions one of the Legacy core values — Family, Faith, Friends, Flag, and Future—in their schools. The initiatives will be celebrated at the Legacy Youth Institute Graduation Banquet to be held later this spring.
For more information about the Legacy Youth Institute, please contact Ozark Mountain Legacy at (417) 598-1314, or visit www.LegacyYouthInstitute.org orwww.ozarkmountainlegacy.org.