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2019-2020 LaGrange Youth Council inducted

On Tuesday night, 17 local students were inducted onto the LaGrange Youth Council. 

The council is an advisory board composed of local youth that provide advice and counsel to local governing bodies. The LaGrange Youth Council also gives local youth a more formal role in the decision-making process of elected bodies. The group will learn about local government as well as state government at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. 

“I am very excited about this group,” said Katie Mercer Van Schoor, the City of LaGrange marketing and communications manager. “They seem to be very engaged.”

According to those involved in the process, this year’s application process was the most competitive to date, and the selected students were reportedly the best from an impressive group of young candidates.

“We had a very competitive process this year,” City Manager Meg Kelsey said. “It is the first time that we haven’t taken all the students that applied, so they went through an interview process. The actual youth council members were on the committee to interview the students.”

Kelsey said that there were 11 impressive students who did not make it, and Van Schoor said that she hopes to still see those students involved in other ways.

“We had to turn away some fantastic young adults, but we do have a waiting list,” Van Schoor said. “We told them that if they miss more than two [meetings] without trying to make it up, then we will take the young adults from our wait list.”

The youth council includes students from LaGrange High School, Troup High School, LaGrange Academy, Springwood Academy and the Sound Doctrine.

“I think it is a great group of kids,” Kelsey said.

This year there are 24 members of the youth council, including seven returning members, who were juniors last year. Members include Jack DeVane, Libby Criswell, Kaushal Patel, Hamilton Bedingfield, Jamal Jones, Miller Penn, Gabe Martinez, Kannon Key, Lauren Hale, Mary Frances Smith, Louise Dodson, Ujwal Modi, Abby Mazzolini, Caroline Shelton, Annie Pauley, Caroline Cook, Ella Eiland, Emma Strickland, Lily Kamat, Zoie Mitchell, Nasia Shepherd, Isaias Pavon, Lizzie Doerr and Caroline Childress.

The group elected new leaders for the year. Emma Strickland was voted chair, Libby Criswell vice-chair, Gabe Martinez is secretary and Jack DeVane is historian.

Members are required to participate in the city’s “Leaving LaGrange Better Than We Found It” litter cleanup campaign as well as host their own fundraising events for a cause they select.

Last year, the LaGrange Youth Council raised awareness and $252.47 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness through a movie event titled “Bring Your Sweetheart to Sweetland.” For more information on the LaGrange Youth Council go to Lagrangega.org/Home/Youth_Council.