Kiwanis picks Cavalier sophomore for leadership

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2003

Lee Anne Ward, a sophomore at Lakeland High School, was given a HOBY award for her outstanding leadership qualities by the Kiwanis Club of Suffolk, at a recent Monday night meeting. The presentation was made by Nils Melkerson of the club’s Youth Services Committee, who described the meaning and background of the award to the guests, which included her parents, Bill Ward and Chris Ward.

In addition to the award, Lee Anne will be attending a seminar this spring that will be attended by students from all over Virginia. The seminar will be just one of dozens of such events that HOBY sponsors all over the United States. In each community, a different civic organization sponsors the selected high school student, and in Suffolk it’s the Kiwanis Club, which will pay all of Lee Anne’s registration fees.

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At the regional event, she will quickly learn how

?to improve critical thinking skills

?to enhance leadership skills

?to gain a better understanding of the democratic process

?to develop goal-setting skills

?to realize the importance of leadership

HOBY is an acronym for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, which is named for its founder, the well-known actor who was famous for his role as Wyatt Earp on television. O’Brian was inspired to found the organization in 1958 after he spent more than a week with the great humanitarian, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, at his clinic in Africa. As soon as he returned to Los Angeles, O’Brian set to work on what turned out to be a life-long project.

Dr. Schweitzer said that &uot;the most important thing in education is to teach youth to think for themselves.&uot; Building on that thought, O’Brian established HOBY to &uot;seek out and develop leadership potential, commencing with high school sophomores, to encourage and prepare the next generation, as well as corporate leadership, for America’s future.&uot;

With generous gifts from donors, and 5,200 volunteers nationwide, HOBY is able to draw bright, enthusiastic students like Lee Anne to its program, and to provide them with skills that will help in their development into outstanding, responsible adults. Those are the same qualities that Kiwanis strives to impart to the hundreds of middle school and high school students who have participated in youth activities sponsored by the Builders Clubs and the Key Clubs. Kiwanis has sponsored those clubs for many years in Suffolk’s school system. Although Lee Anne’s selection for the award was made independently, the local Kiwanians are proud that she is a member of

Lakeland High School’s Key Club.

Through all of its programs, Kiwanis seeks to encourage young people to join with their peers and with adults in giving help to those who need it most. The programs are designed to offer service to others, develop leadership skills, and at the same time enable the students to enjoy their service hours through an opportunity to socialize with their classmates.

Suffolk Kiwanis meets at 6 p.m. every Monday in the Garden Buffet.