Youth Leadership class of 2023 celebrates graduation

May 2—OXFORD — Forty area high school juniors were honored Tuesday morning for completing the 2023 Youth Leadership Calhoun County class sponsored by the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce.

Guests for the event at the Oxford Civic Center were the students' teachers, principals and parents.

"We hope you have made friendships that will last and enjoyed seeing some things about Calhoun County that you may not have seen otherwise," said YLCC advisory committee chairwoman Maryann Gendron.

The nine-month program for high school juniors provides class members with the tools to develop individual leadership skills, increases their understanding of the community and allows them to be a part of leadership outside of the classroom.

Gendron said during her time as a member of the adult version of Leadership Calhoun County Class of 2014 she "learned so much about this area that I did not know."

"It made me appreciate Calhoun County in a way I never did at a younger age and I hope you guys have also taken some of that away from this experience," Gendron said.

Gendron called the students "some of the best and brightest in the community."

"You guys are such a special group of young people as well as your parents who have been supporting you," Gendron said.

Gendron urged the students to take whatever they learn after graduation to "bring it back to Calhoun County and use it here to better our community."

The list of this year's YLCC graduates includes:

— Alexandria High School: Carsean Machristie

— The Donoho School: Peyton Webb, Estella Connell, Anne Locke Driggers, Walker Bodiford, Lizzie Whyte, Rory Parks and Amad Lodhi

— Faith Christian: Allie Folsom, Joshua Muse and Abigail Morse

— Jacksonville Christian Academy: Miranda Allen, Riley Sanders, Noah Colvin and Samantha Cash

— Jacksonville High School: Hayden Henderson, Isabella Hurst, Karsyn Eden, Jehenna Engram, Ava Wade, Libby Strain, Sophie Bivins and Brenna Smith

— Oxford High School: Ja'Miah Heard and Zander Beal

— Piedmont High School: Lexi Ray, Tanner Curvin, Ava Pope, Claudia Dempsey, Savannah Smith and Sam Tolbert

— Pleasant Valley High School: Caleb Shaw and Brady Laros

— Saks High School: Estrella Delgado and Sara Strickland

— Trinity Christian: Isabella Springer and Ayla Hart

— Weaver High School: McKenley Davis, Madelyn Cone and Walker Manghum.

The graduates were treated to a morning of fun at Big Time Entertainment after the ceremony.

Wednesday, May 3, is the deadline for future 11th graders to apply to be members of the YLCC class of 2024. Application forms and information can be found on the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce website at

Staff Writer Brian Graves: 256-236-1551.