Leadership La Porte County recently completed its 23rd annual leadership program with more than 50 local high school students participating from La Porte County high schools. Schools were asked to nominate 5 students for participation in the program. Participating high schools included: La Crosse, La Lumiere, La Porte, Marquette Catholic, Michigan City, New Prairie, South Central and Westville. Additionally, three home schooled students were part of the program. Four all-day sessions were held at different locations around the
county—Purdue North West, the La Porte County Complex, Red Mill County Park and Cummings Lodge.
Facilitators for the seminars were Leadership Executive Director, Monica Komasinski, Youth Service Bureau staff member Alliegra Hand, and Jim Jessup. Nine students from last year’s class served as student leaders. They were: Austin Casto and Abigail Roberts (LaPorte), Jessica Griffin (Westville), Jorden Clemons (South Central), Buddy Jaffee (Marquette), Garrett Gangloff (New Prairie), Jaye Mitzner (La Crosse), Farrah Goodall (Michigan City) and Drake Ott (home school). The program was funded by a community grant from the Unity Foundation.
The students practiced leadership skills such as communication, problem solving, team-building, collaboration, and decision-making. At the opening session they did a personality assessment in order to better understand group dynamics and individual personality traits. At the County Complex the group toured the County Jail, heard from Sheriff John Boyd. They also interviewed a panel of offenders. The student leaders facilitated many discussions on current youth issues. Michigan City School Resource officer Dion Campbell spoke to the
group on the qualities of authentic leadership.
The final session featured “graduation” speaker Gerrie Grott who shared her perspective on overcoming any odds to become a community leader. A panel of young professionals including Bert Cook, Carrie Campbell, Justin Kiel and Nate Loucks, held a question and answer session with students. They discussed their leadership journey and gave inspiring advice to the students. The students also reported on their team community service projects. Each graduate received a certificate and a commemorative tee shirt. Next year’s student leaders were chosen. They are Andréa Franklin (LaPorte), Peyton Rodgers (Westville), Logan Notaro (South Central), Kate Zientarski (Marquette), Sydney Moody (New Prairie), Mya Morrow (La Crosse), Julia Miller (Michigan City) Trevor Cary (La Lumiere) and Maggie Moore (home school).
For more information about Leadership La Porte County or its youth programs, contact Executive Director, Monica Komasinski at 219-325-8223 or by email at