Some of Louisiana's most outstanding students have been selected as new members of the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) and will work together over the next year in an effort to influence the legislative process and make the state a better place for young people. New Iberia's Alexis Dominique has been elected president of the LYAC, where she will be joined by Erath's Jordan Lange and Jeanerette's Robert Lancon. They are joined by Noelle Delhomme of Ascension Episcopal School, Brandy Milliman of Catholic High-New Iberia, and Adrian Oudomrath of Westgate High School who were appointed as alternatives.

The council is a yearly-appointed body composed entirely of students that addresses issues affecting the youth of Louisiana and is overseen by the Louisiana Commission on Civic Education.  Now in its fourth year, LYAC facilitates the communication between youth and the legislature and gives students the unique opportunity to be involved in the workings of state government. LYAC members will have the opportunity to study and address issues of importance to young people, including education, employment, youth health and physical fitness, strategies to increase youth participation in local and state government, underage drinking, litter and environmental control, youth access to state and local services, and various other issues.

Members of the council are selected from a wide pool of applicants from around the state who display a strong interest in civic involvement. Two student members serve from each of the congressional districts (14 members) and seven (7) additional youth members are designated by and represent a school-sponsored or community service club or organization which has a civic mission. The members must be between the age of 14 and 19 and enrolled in a public or private high school or participating in a home study program.

"These impressive young people are connecting with their government in ways that can positively impact their generation in Louisiana," adds Beth Courtney, Vice-Chair of the Louisiana Commission on Civic Education and Executive Director of Louisiana Public Broadcasting. "Each year I look forward to hearing their thoughts and ideas."

Major initiatives and activities of the council include participating on the Louisiana Public Broadcasting program, Louisiana Public Square; partnering with the Louisiana World Peace Day Committee on world peace activities held each Fall; participating in Global Youth Service Day; awarding LYAC Leadership awards to outstanding young leaders each year; and, this year, promoting opportunities for a youth voice in local government, such as municipal youth councils, will also be a focus.

"Our youth will face tremendous challenges as young citizens and this council allows them the unique opportunity, as our future leaders, to come together as teens and discuss these issues with their legislators and other public officials," said Dale Bayard, Chairman of the Louisiana Commission on Civic Education and a member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. "These young people bring an energy and enthusiasm to the debate on issues that affect their future."

The newly-elected 2011-2012 Legislative Youth Advisory Council participated in a leadership seminar which included discussions on leadership and teen issues with such officials and community leaders as Governor Bobby Jindal, Secretary of State Tom Schedler, State Representative Rosalind Jones, State Senator Eric LaFleur, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Craig Freeman, and three former LYAC senior advisors, David Holmes of Baton Rouge, Michael Bell of Hahnville, and Davante Lewis of Lake Charles. Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne and many other speakers also addressed the council about important issues such as tourism, local government, underage drinking and substance abuse.

President Alexis Dominique, Westgate High School
Alexis Dominique, the newly elected president of the 2011-2012 Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council, is a senior Westgate High School where she has been involved in the following: Hugh O’Brian Youth Leader Ambassador (2010), Red Cross Youth Group President (2010-2012), Junior Class President (2010-2011), Senior Class President (2011-2012), Renaissance Club Vice President (2010-2011), Spanish Club Community Service Chair (2010-2011), Archive Intern at McIlhenny Company (December 2010-present), member of Q95.5 Teen Board (2010-2011), member of National Honor Society (2010-2011) and BETA club (2008-2011). In 2011, Alexis helped the student council host a St. Jude Walk in which they raised over $2,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Over the course of her high school career, Alexis has received many honors, including Westgate’s Freshman of the Year (2009), Social Studies Department Student of Excellence (2009), Outstanding Science Student (2009), fifth place in World History at District Literary Rally (2009), Mathematics Department Student of Excellence (2009), 2009- 2010 Plan Louisiana Student Achievement Award, Spanish III Excellence Award (2011), and Principal’s List (2009-2011). Commenting on her involvement with the youth council, Alexis said, “Being a part of a group like LYAC is an amazing opportunity, one that many will not have. I am enthralled that we, as young adults, can come together to voice our opinion as well as brainstorm solutions to problems affecting today’s youth. Our panel for this year is comprised of the most passionate and intellectual young people that I know, and it is with esteemed honor and great pleasure that I am able to serve alongside them.”

Jordan Lange, Erath High School
Jordan Lange is a junior at Erath High School where he has been an active member of the Beta Club serving as treasurer and participating in state and national conventions for the past two years. Jordan has served as the president of his class for three years and sits as a member of the EHS Advisory Board. He was recently elected to serve as Student Council President-Elect and will be a member of the EHS Executive Board. He has previously held the positions of senator and representative.

At the 2011 Louisiana Association of Student Councils State Convention, Jordan competed in the oratory competition and was named state champion. Jordan is a member of the EHS basketball, football, track, cross country, and tennis teams. Jordan has participated in the Hugh O'Brian Youth (HOBY) Leadership Seminar in Baton Rouge and the Broyhill Leadership Seminar in Charlotte, North Carolina. When asked about his selection to the LYAC, Jordan commented, "This is an exciting opportunity for me to learn more about current issues affecting teens in the state of Louisiana and to share my opinions and the opinions of my peers with individuals that have the
power to make decisions that affect us all. It is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am very excited to work with other teens from across the state of Louisiana."

Robert Lancon, Highland Baptist Christian School (Jeanerette)
Robert Lancon is a Junior at Highland Baptist Christian School. He is the Louisiana 4-H State Historian/Reporter and past secretary of the Louisiana 4-H State Citizenship Board. He serves on Parish Level 4-H Boards and has been a delegate to the Southern Regional Teen Leadership Conference for his leadership in 4-H. Robert also serves on the Jeanerette COC Youth Advisory Board, and is involved with the Learn and Serve America National Youth Speakers Bureau. Robert is a hardworking student at HBCS where he is involved in Beta Club, National Honors Society, Service Club, Drama Club, and Choir. Robert commented on his selection to the council, "My involvement in organizations, at conferences, and working with youth in general has made me realize the true power of youth voice. I hope that our perspective can be powerful and vital to the Legislature this year. I plan on voicing my opinions, meeting with my officials, and engaging other youth." To Robert, the sense of apathy among many people in his generation is a great crisis our state. His hope is to engage them and prepare them for their roles in the future.. He looks forward to a year of working with the LYAC!

Other newly selected Members of the Legislative Youth Advisory Council include the following:
Emily Ryan, Marksville High School, Marksville, Vice President
Mary Beth Turner, C.E. Byrd High School, Shreveport, Secretary
Alexa Babin, Byrd High School, Shreveport, Historian
Maggie Conerly, Bolton High School, Alexandria, Communication Officer
Nathan Babb, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Baton Rouge
Tucker Baker, Holly Savior Menard Central High School, Alexandria
Cari Beth Barrett, Bolton High School, Alexandria
Austin Bordelon, Marksville High School, Marksville
Chase Courville, Airline High School, Bossier City
Katie Henning, Alfred M. Barbe High School, Lake Charles
Emma Hollenshead, Caddo Magnet High School, Shreveport
Sam Ingalls, Mandeville High School, Mandeville
Kathryn James, Mandeville High School, Mandeville
Tousley Leake West Feliciana High School, St. Francisville
Clare Messina, Cabrini High School, New Orleans
Andrew Tan, Sterlington High School, Monroe
Abby Tran, Helen Cox High School, Harvey
Anna Walton, C.E. Byrd High School, Shreveport

Alternate Members include the following:
Brandon Atkins, Northlake Christian School, Covington
Sophie Boudreaux, Chalmette High School, Meraux
Bethaney Charles, KIPP Renaissance High School, New Orleans
Katie Counts, West Monroe High School, West Monroe
Johnny Crain, Franklinton High School, Angie
Noelle Delhomme, Ascension Episocpal School, Lafayette
Eleanor Gilbert, Glenbrook School, Minden
Erin Hall, Natchitoches Central High School, Natchitoches
Michael Heaton, Episcopal High School, Baton Rouge
Logan Hilton, Holy Savior Menard School, Alexandria
Michael Hutchinson, McKinley High School, Baton Rouge
Debria Joe, Peabody Magnet high School, Alexandria
Meagan Johnson, Hackberry High School, Hackberry
Tayler LiRocchi Holden High School, Holden
Jahi Mackey, McKinley High School, Baton Rouge
Brandy Milliman, Catholic High School, New Iberia
Adrian Oudomrath, Westgate High School, New Iberia
Ariane Schaffer, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans
Sophie Seba, Parkview Baptist School, Baton Rouge
Madeline Wagnon, Captain Shreve High School, Shreveport

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