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Students learn life skills

On Tuesday night, tables full of participants listened closely to information on how management styles impact the workplace and how to improve themselves professionally at an event at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. However, this group was very different from the crowd that usually fills such events because all of these participants were local high school students.

The LaGrange Youth Council’s Life 101 class pulled in resources from the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and THINC College and Career Academy to teach the members and their peers essential life skills such interviewing, writing a resume and applying for college. All of the youth council’s projects are led by the students, and the idea for this particular project came from Youth Council Historian Jack DeVane.

“When we were doing interviews for the next group of people coming — our juniors coming up — I was thinking, all of these people here probably have strong family ties and can figure out how to get into it,” DeVane said. “I’m sure there are tons of families who do not have this kind of support. I do think we can help people with writing a resume. That’s how you get into college, and I wanted to have a thing like this where we could help families, where kids can actually figure out how to have interview skills and get into college.”

DeVane said when he talked to his friends about the idea for a Life 101 class, many were interested. However, he was surprised to find a room full of high schoolers ready to talk about resumes during a week night event. 

“I expected there to be a lot of people, but not this many,” DeVane said. 

He said that he felt like the turnout was encouraging, and he hopes to see the Life 101 class grow in the future.

“After word about this gets out, I hope to do it on a bigger scale and hopefully with more people and maybe even bring more people in from the community to talk,” DeVane said. “That would be great.”

City of LaGrange Marketing and Communication Manager Katie Van Schoor said that she was impressed by the LaGrange Youth Council’s idea and how it turned out.

“I was shocked in a good way at how engaged these young adults are,” Van Schoor said. “The fact that Jack [DeVane] came up with this idea [is impressive]. He is on the committee. We also had a junior, Mary Frances Smith, who volunteered to chair this event.”

Van Schoor said that she was honored to be able to help the youth council members, and she felt that the community will have a bright future thanks to the young leaders.

“They are attacking a lot of really important issues,” Van Schoor said. “This is one of the main ones, and I’m so proud of them.”

Van Schoor said that the LaGrange Youth Council is also working on projects related to sustainability, an anti-vaping campaign and mental health awareness. To learn more about the LaGrange Youth Council, visit its page on Facebook.