Ten juniors chosen to attend RYLA conferences in April


Sierra Gomperts

During spring break 10 juniors will travel to Idylwilde for a three-day RYLA conference. The participants went through an interview and application process in order to be accepted into the program. (photo top row: Adoley Swaniker, Michael Ricci. Bottom row: Kayra Carillo, Julie Ambo, Rebecca Nasser, Shannon Oh. Not pictured: Julia Borla, Erika Anderson, Michaela Gacnik, Grady McDermott.)

This year, the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) accepted applications and nominations from outstanding students. Those chosen will have the opportunity to attend informational conferences in Idyllwild, CA.

“It is a three-day leadership conference, and there are roughly three hundred students selected from all over San Diego County that get to attend,” Vocational Services Director Dawn Van Siclen said. “They hear from amazing motivational speakers and various group leaders about how to make an impact on their world.”

Ten juniors have been chosen to attend this event: Shannon Oh, Julia Borla, Rebecca Nasser, Kayra Carrillo, Erika Anderson, Michaela Gacnik, Grady McDermott, Naa-Adoley Swaniker, Julie Ambo and Michael Ricci. These students show signs of leadership and other important qualities.

“They get selected on a variety of criteria: grades, community service, extra-curricular activities, sports, debate, CHSTV; there are so many different things that work into selecting students for a leadership program,” Van Siclen said. “These students are already people who are showing that they are leaders and RYLA just helps polish them into more-efficient and effective leaders.”

When applying, students had to go through many steps, including an application and an interview with a board of rotary members.

“We filled out our brag sheet on Aeries, sent it to our counselor and then we went to an interview with Mrs. Fahlstrom,” Oh said. “She asked if we still wanted to go, and if we did, we filled out a second application on the RYLA website and wrote a personal essay. Then we did an interview with the RYLA board.”

Now, students are preparing to depart for Idyllwild on April 4. During this three-day trip, students will stay in permanent dorm facilities, have meals together and get to mingle with other accomplished students. At the conference, they will have the chance to learn about ethics, self-confidence, community and global citizenship and communication skills.

“I’m excited to meet people with leadership qualities and make new friends and learn from their ideas,” Oh said.