MCPS Young Leaders Conference logo

Marion County Public Schools has invited 29 students in fourth through eighth grade to attend the sixth annual MCPS Young Leaders Conference at Marion County High School.

The conference is designed to develop leadership and soft skills in students who have shown exceptional leadership potential, with sessions led by members of the MCPS Student Ambassador organization.

“I’m so glad we figured out a way to have it in a safe environment, and still give our kids an opportunity to be the great leaders that we know that they are,” MCPS Assistant Superintendent Troy Benningfield said. 

Benningfield and MCPS Instructional Coach Laurie Followell co-sponsor the MCPS Student Ambassadors.

Students are selected to attend the Young Leaders Conference by their school’s principal, which Benningfield noted is a considerable honor.

“It’s a very big deal for a principal to select you to represent your school in this district-wide event,” Benningfield said. “The parents of these students should be very proud.”

This year’s invitees include:

Calvary Elementary  

Mary Beth Masterson

Raini Sidebottom

Josie Gordon

Tanner Reed

Cadin Spalding

Glasscock Elementary 

Katie Mattingly

Drew Wright

Talis Hazelwood

Dashiah Francisco

Xavier Furmon

Lebanon Elementary

Carlie Hill

Dylan Robbins

Yvette Carmona

Iniko Scott

West Marion Elementary

Taylor Troutman

Josie Mattingly

Sophia Wheatley

Addison Garrett

Owen Wright

Marion County Middle

Jackson Truitt

Marley Stout

Michaela Daugherty

Christian Rucker

Greyson Rucker

Marion County Knight Academy

Emily Mattingly

Jon Conner Mattingly

Marcus Votaw

Kayton Shewmaker

Syniah Edelen

In addition to promoting the development of leadership skills in younger students, the annual conference has become one of the premiere events involving the MCPS Student Ambassadors.

“We try to make a fun, loving environment,” Student Ambassador Brooklyn Richardson said.  “We try to make it a learning experience for them to step up and step out, so they can be a future ambassador.”

Richardson is also a former attendee of the event. 

“I remember it being such a fun hands-on experience with different kids throughout the community that I hadn’t met before,” she said. “I made friends that day and we did a lot of fun activities.”

The informative sessions focus on skills such as public speaking and time management. Attendees will also get a tour of the high school, which Richardson said “really got me prepared for when I had to attend the high school.”

In addition to the informative sessions, the conference includes a luncheon and an awards ceremony.

LISTEN: MCPS Student Ambassador Brooklyn Richardson and MCPS Assistant Superintendent discuss the annual Young Leaders Conference