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Womans Club recognizes HOBY Award recipient and alternate
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The Dawson County Womans Club recognized two outstanding students for their leadership skills and potential at Monday nights school board meeting: HOBY award recipient Miranda Abe and alternate Addison Welch.

Miranda, 15, and Addison, 16, both sophomores at Dawson County High School, were selected from among nine applicants for the annual award. Recipients receive sponsorship from the Womans Club covering the cost to attend a three-day Hugh OBrian Youth (HOBY) Leadership Seminar. Miranda will attend the conference at Berry College next June, and will report back to the Womans Club about the experience. As alternate, Addison will attend the conference if Miranda is unexpectedly unable to attend.

HOBYs mission is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation.

Womans Club co-presidents Cindy Jensen and Sylvia LaCagnin describe the selection process as a challenging one that ultimately succeeds in identifying the most motivated students with the best capacity to apply what they learn in the Leadership Conference to their own lives and share it with others. The program targets high school sophomores because they have two years left in high school to put their developing leadership skills and experience to work.

They only wish the club had the budget to send more students.

There was an outstanding pool of applicants, said Jensen. We wish we could send them all. And the students selected as the final recipient and alternate are really, really superior kids.

The HOBY application package included a comprehensive and detailed application, a resume, and a letter of recommendation from a teacher. Applicants also were required to write essays describing what leadership means to them and how they have demonstrated leadership in their lives.

Miranda, the daughter of Jackie Abe and David Abe, was eager to apply for the seminar sponsorship, partly because it had received such positive reviews from her sister Jessica, who was a HOBY award recipient as a Dawson County High School sophomore in 2008.

School focuses on good grades, but you cant live your life in a book, said Miranda, who has discovered the joys of learning for the sake of learning and says good grades usually follow naturally. You have to take what you learn from books and see how that knowledge applies to society and all the interactions within it.

Learning how to be a better leader is at least as important as anything that could be learned from a textbook, Miranda believes.

Leadership isnt about being the boss over other people, she said. Its about developing personal characteristics that result in making good choices so others will want to follow that example and become better people, too.

Miranda, an aspiring journalist, is in the Student Government Association and is Academics Editor on the yearbook staff. As she pointed out in her essay, her work as an editor has required leadership skills, including learning how to offer constructive criticism. She expects the HOBY Leadership Seminar to help her enhance the skills she has and learn new skills to share with other students.

Im very thankful to the Womans Club for this opportunity, Miranda said. I wouldnt be able to do this without them.

Addison, the daughter of Paige and Pat Welch, said she is very honored to have been chosen as an alternate for the HOBY Leadership Seminar. She is equally excited to see her friend, Miranda, be selected to attend.

Im very blessed to have a group of friends who are all supportive of leadership development, Addison said. You can see the ripple effect with leadershiphow one persons positive leadership can influence others. Thats why I try to live every day as an example.

Addison also has set her sights on a career in journalism and is Student Life editor for the high school yearbook. Being an editor, she said, helping others learn how to make good spreads, has been good leadership experience. Addison is also a small group leader at Harbor Worship Center and a chaplain for the state YMCAs Y Club.

I live to be a Christian leader, Addison said, adding thats not such a common ambition among teens these days.