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Organizers pleased with launch of new St. Clair student leadership program (with photos)

MOODY – The Building CommUNITY Roundup unfolded recently at the Moody Civic Center. 

The program’s inception began with a vision from the Leadership St. Clair County Class of 2018-19, with hopes of building ways to teach leadership to students and garner relationships countywide. 

The new program was for students from every junior high and high school in the county.

Christy Ellard, Moody Civic Center manager and project leader for last year’s Leadership St. Clair class, said because county Schools Superintendent Mike Howard was part of the class, they all thought it would be great to start a leadership program for students in St. Clair County and Pell City schools.

“We had 251 students (seventh, eighth, 10th and 11th grades) join us here at the Moody Civic Center,” Ellard said. “The purpose was to build unity in our community, starting with our students.”

Ellard said when students arrived, they were given a piece of paper with a number on it that corresponded with a certain table. This was done purposely so they would all sit with other students from different schools.

Ellard said she had one student, Major Yancy, tell her, “When I sat down, I didn’t know anyone at my table.”

Said Ellard, “I told him that within 20 minutes, you all were already interacting, laughing and having a blast. He told me yes, and that he was having so much fun.”

Ellard said by lunchtime, students at each table were doing team building with those they had just met. “It was amazing,” she said. 

As part of the program, each school has been assigned a task, Ellard said.

“It will be a school project together within their community, and they will have all year to work on it,” she said.

“We will meet back up with them in November/December at their school to see how they are doing. We will host them again here at the Moody Civic Center in April for them to present their project.  

“Our goal is to continue this each year so we are building leaders earlier in our schools.”

Ellard said organizers couldn’t have pulled this off without donations from businesses and municipalities throughout the county.

“We raised all the funds to cover this project,” Ellard said. “There is no way this would have been as successful if it wasn’t for my amazing team. They all helped in several different aspects, from contacting the schools, raising funds to volunteering the day of.  

“It was truly a blessing to see what our group started for our students here in St. Clair County.”   

Ellard said Elevate Experiences from Norcross, Georgia, was huge in making this vision come to life.

Grace Galster, logistics coordinator with Elevate Experiences, said her business enjoyed being part of the inaugural St. Clair County Leadership Summit. 

“Investing a day to pour into your local students and show them they are capable of leading and impacting their schools and community is so valuable,” Galster said. “Our team loved fusing high-energy games and activities with meaningful content. All in all, a great event that is only the beginning for St. Clair County.”

Moody Jr. High School Principal Cassandra Taylor said she was so proud of her student leaders.

“The Leadership St. Clair County Student Summit is a wonderful opportunity for our students to cultivate and grow their leadership skills and make St. Clair County an even more amazing place to live, work, visit and attend school,” Taylor said. 

Reach Gary Hanner at