West Orange – Stark High School seniors Paige Pollard and Julius Knolley were WOCCISD representatives at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) held in Woodlake, Texas in January.

Pollard is the WO-S High School Student Body President. Knolley is a varsity football player. Both are members of the National Honor Society and active in all aspects of WO-S, either taking the lead at student body pep rallies or supporting their fellow classmates at student events.

Because of their involvement at the school, the two were nominated for the RYLA program which strives to produce graduates who will improve the quality of their respective environments and organizations.

At RYLA, students interact with youth leaders from other schools and also work through a set of challenges, including some physical challenges, which allow them to stretch their leadership skills to new heights.

Students are chosen to participate based upon their leadership potential. The program’s curriculum includes:

Fundamentals of leadership

Ethics of positive leadership

Importance of communications skills in effective leadership

Problem-solving and conflict-management

What Rotary is and what it does for the local community

Building self-confidence and self-esteem

Elements of community and global citizenship while reflecting issues of local relevance in a manner appropriate to local customs.

The impact of the program spreads further as the program awardees influence other young people.

Each RYLA activity had to do with Rotary 4-Way Test. Individuals are encouraged to analyze information in the following way:

Is it the Truth?

Is it Fair to all concerned?

Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?

Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?”

The skills developed at the leadership program are skills that all the students can use in high school, college, and in their future careers.

“RYLA improved my leadership skills. It taught me that I can’t do it all by myself and that it is okay for me to delegate responsibilities,” Pollard said.

Knolley said, “After attending RYLA, I realized that I can exhibit my leadership skills in a very positive way that can benefit others as well as myself.”

Pollard and Knolley were sponsored by the Orangefield Rotary Club, District 5910. RYLA was held at the Pineywoods Baptist Encampment in Woodlake, Texas.