Youth Leadership History
Youth Leadership Jefferson County was established by the Chamber of Commerce in 1998 as part of its Governor's Three Star Program. It was the class project of the first LEADERSHIP Jefferson County program and the Chamber served as its presenting sponser. In 2001, Louis Vesser, Vice Principal of Jefferson County High School and a Chamber Board member, asked the Chamber to consider making the program a full-time class at JCHS. Daryl Brady, Chamber President and CEO, obtained the approval of the Chamber and the Jefferson County School Board while Mr. Vesser wrote the state's Dept. of Education for approval of the curriculum. Today, the class is taught during the spring semester and begins with a retreat featuring speakers from the Chamber and team building exercises. Ms. Brandy Arnold, a LEADERSHIP Jefferson County alumnus, serves as the class instructor along with JCHS Principal, Scott Walker.
This accredited class is offered at Jefferson County High School for sophomores and juniors during the spring semester. Class size is limited to 25 students and the selection process is highly competitive with both a written application and personal interview being part of the selection process. The class meets each day for 1.5 hours during third period from January to May. In addition to rigorous classroom work in a diverse curriculum, the class has outside assignments including required visits to meetings of the following legislative bodies: County Commission, City councils, School Board, and Planning Commission. The program concludes with a graduation ceremony in May for both the students and their families with a dinner and concert.