Legislative Youth Advisory Council honor young leaders

Staff Report
LYAC member, C.J. Koch, Anacoco High School (right), presents Brittany Babineaux, St. Amant High School, with a LYAC Leadership Award.

The Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) has announced the recipients of its LYAC Leadership Awards, which are designed to recognize and honor the great young leaders of the state.

The award is given based on a student's civic engagement efforts, outstanding leadership, responsible citizenship within their community and the positive example they set for their peers. Certificates of recognition are presented by members of the council to one statewide award winner and to one young leader in each congressional district.

As Melanie Benit, 2010-2011 LYAC President and student at Chalmette High School explained,"Being a member of the youth council has broadened my perspective on the importance of civic engagement by students as well as serving as a youth voice. Like members of the council, there are many other students throughout the state who are making a positive impact in their communities every day. We are proud to recognize our peers who are choosing to step up and make a difference."

"I have experienced first-hand the enormous impact of political involvement with LYAC. My perspectives have undergone a series of changes because of the exposure to a variety of opinions that I would not have explored otherwise," added Michael Bell, LYAC senior advisor and freshman at Millsaps College. "LYAC encourages young people to make a difference and, with the opportunity to recognize teens statewide, the leadership award allows us to honor Louisiana's young leaders."

LYAC honored Brittany Babineaux as the first recipient of a LYAC Leadership Award in Congressional District 3. She is a graduate of St. Amant High School and a recipient of academic, allied health and sports training letter awards. She is also a member of the National Society for High School Scholars and a member of numerous clubs, including 4-H, BETA and Interact among many others. Brittany has participated in a number of community service activities, such as, transplanting marsh grass at Avery Island, working with Ascension Commodity Cookeries, and volunteering for and assisting numerous fundraisers. She currently attends Louisiana State University.

The state award honoree is Hayley Hilton, a graduate of Holy Savior Menard School in Alexandria, while other regional honors were awarded to Bridget Rogers, graduate of Grace King High School, Metairie; Anna Potter, graduate of Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans; Emma Hollenshead, student at Caddo Magnet High School, Shreveport; and Christopher Simoneaux, graduate of St. Michael the Archangel Diocesan Regional High School, Baton Rouge.

Recipients of the awards, which are given in coordination with Project Citizen, are selected by the 21-member Legislative Youth Advisory Council. LYAC's mission is to facilitate communication between young people and the legislature on issues of importance to youth and to give students a unique opportunity to be involved in the workings of their government. It was statutorily created three years ago.