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Damasa Leonis selected to attend young leaders’ meeting

Staff reports

Damasa Leonis of Gardnerville, a senior at Douglas High School, was selected to attend The National Young Leaders Conference from Feb. 27 to March 4. in Washington, D.C.

The NYLC is a unique leadership development program for high school students who have demonstrated leadership potential and scholastic merit. Leonis will be among 350 outstanding National Scholars from around the country to attend the conference.

The theme of the NYLC is “The Leaders of Tomorrow Meeting the Leaders of Today.” Throughout the six-day conference, Leonis will interact with key leaders and newsmakers from the three branches of government, the media and the diplomatic corps.

Highlights of the program include welcoming remarks from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and a panel discussion with prominent journalists at the National Press Club. Leonis will also meet with senators and representatives or an appointed member of their staff to discuss important issues facing the nation.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to use my leadership skills and also to learn new skills,” Leonis said. “Besides being in Leadership Class at DHS, I am a member of Tigers Helping Each Other, a peer service program that helps educate our community. I have been on the Honor Roll since my freshman year at DHS. I also have spoken at several organizations regarding the Yellow Ribbon Campaign (suicide prevention).”

Leonis plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall and will major in elementary education with a minor in special education.

“I believe some of the skills that I will learn at this conference will help me in college and also beyond that to actually teaching,” she said. “Since there will be so many other students from all over the country at this conference, it will be interesting to see how situations are handled in other parts of the country: either the same way or differently. I am sure I will come away with a great overall experience and some new friends. I am definitely looking forward to the conference and to all the challenges I will find and learn from.”

To complement the schedule of special meetings and briefings, Leonis will also participate in a number of leadership skill-building activities. In one role-play activity known as “If I Were President,” students act as the president and Cabinet members responding to an international crisis. Students also participate in a judicial simulation called “Testing the Constitution,” in which they examine actual Supreme Court cases. The NYLC culminates with the “Model Congress,” in which scholars assume the roles of U.S. representative and debate, amend and vote on proposed legislation.

The CYLC is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization. Founded in 1985, it is committed to fostering and inspiring young people to achieve their full leadership potential. Over 425 members of the U.S. Congress join this commitment by serving on the CYLC Honorary Congressional Board of Advisors. Each year, 7,000 select, outstanding youths nationwide participate in the 20 sessions of the NYLC.

For additional information on the NYLC, see the Web site, wwwl.cylc.org.