Fifteen area youth graduated from the Youth Leadership Butler program on Monday.
Fifteen area youth learned what it takes to be a good leader through the Youth Leadership Butler program last year.
A graduation event was held Monday evening to congratulate those youth on completing the 2012 class.
Keynote speaker El Dorado Correctional Facility James Heimgartner spoke to the class about being good leaders.
He began by comparing leadership and being a weather person, saying a weather person never makes everyone happy.
"As a leader, you won't do that either," he said. "When you get into leadership it's not about making people happy, it's about making the right decision."
Responsibility also goes along with leadership.
"When you are a passenger in a car you can do anything you want," Heimgartner said. "If you're a leader, you're like the driver. You not only take responsibility for yourself, but everyone else in the car."
He also said, like a driver, as a leader people will go with them.
He went on to talk about doing the right thing.
"We talk about integrity," he said. "Integrity is doing the right thing all the time even if no one is watching. Our job as leaders is to do the right thing and do the right thing all the time. We should always be willing to tell people they've done a good job, but we also have to hold people accountable."
He encouraged the students to continue to prepare themselves to be leaders.
"This is just a beginning," he said, adding that they will also be learning their entire lives.
Heimgartner also encouraged them to set goals.
"One of the best ways to keep growing is to take what you learned in Leadership Butler and teach it to somebody else," Heimgartner said.
Next Becky Wolfe, Leadership Butler executive director, talked about the curriculum for the students. She said they wanted the curriculum to be specifically for youth and the next generation of leaders.
One thing they wanted youth to do is learn about their communities, which they did through completing face-to-face interviews with someone in their community.
"We have a lot of fun," Wolfe said. "We have things going on all the time, but it's work."
She wants to teach the youth leadership can be fun.
Next, the students were presented with their certificates.
Those graduating included Bailey Ritchey of Augusta; Ian Hughes, Katlin Jurging, Destiney Webster and Adam Wolfe of Bluestem; Ben Pfeiffer and Jessa Ragan of Circle; Brooke Tye of Douglass; Sierra Bonn and Ren Dashner of El Dorado; Courtney Jackson of Flinthills; Alexander Carr of Remington; and Brianna Appel, Chandler Boese and Erin Walls of Rose Hill.
To conclude the evening, the students graduating talked about what they had learned and presented their class project.
"I was excited to see exactly what this program was about," said Jurging.
Jurging and Boese gave an overview of their sessions, then Jackson and Ritchey announced their class project, with the theme, "It's not just doing it."
They chose the topic of sex and sex awareness among teens as their project. They took surveys in their schools to have local statistics and created a video to educate students. Their goal is to hold an assembly in all the schools where they can show the video and give the statistics, but knowing this may not be possible, they said they can show the video during lunches and hand out the bracelets with their slogan on it to students.
The evening concluded with remarks from Augusta Superintendent John Black.
"I'm so proud of the accomplishments that have been made through this program," Black said. "As leaders, you have responsibility for others."