Mississippi’s Future Leaders: The Summer Youth Institute’s 2016 Class

OXFORD, Miss., April 7, 2016 – After a rigorous and competitive application process that includes written essays and phone interviews, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation today announces the future Mississippi leaders accepted into our seventh Summer Youth Institute (SYI) class.

The group of 28 was selected from a competitive applicant pool of nearly 100 current ninth and tenth grade Mississippi students representing 35 Mississippi high schools.
While at SYI, June 11-19, students will receive leadership training and delve deeply into civic engagement and social justice through both in-depth sessions and workshops with world-renowned experts, and field excursions to Neshoba County, Miss. and Greenwood, Miss., where they learn local civil rights history.Each “SYIer” leaves after nine days having designed a project based on a need in their home community, and signs an agreement to pursue the project for two years.

Since 2010, the William Winter Institute’s Summer Youth Institute has helped some 175 high school students grow into positive change agents for their communities and their state. SYIers from the last three years are featured on the Winter Institute’s AwesomeWall, which lists the hometown, school, and project details of each. Projects range from mentoring and tutoring younger students, to recycling programs, to assistance in finding college scholarships.

Tia Toines, a 2013 SYIer from Northwest Rankin High School who is now a freshman at Millsaps College, distilled her Summer Youth Institute experience: “It changed my life,” she said. “It’s not about the wrong. It’s about the right that came out of it, and it’s about what wrongs you can right now.”

“The Summer Youth Institute is arguably the Winter Institute’s most important program,” said Dr. Susan Glisson, Winter Institute founding director. “Mississippi’s need to form bonds that bridge historic differences grows each year. Our youth do this naturally, and we should learn from them.”

Due to the generosity of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Robert M. Hearin Foundation, and the growing support of our constituents, Summer Youth Institute is offered free of charge to all accepted participants.

To contact the William Winter Institute about the Summer Youth Institute, call 662-915-1644 or email melody@winterinstitute.org.


The Winter Institute’s SYI Class of 2016: Saadman Alamgir, Rosa Scott, Freshman; Asher Altman, Ocean Springs High School, Freshman; D’Quarias Anderson, Yazoo City High School, Freshman; Skyler Angus-Barker, Ocean Springs High School, Sophomore; Katie Ayers, Gulfport High School, Freshman; Daley Bell, Bay High School, Sophomore; Jamai Boler, Philadelphia High School, Sophomore; Cortnei Brown, Grenada High School, Sophomore; Kenytta Brown, Lanier High, Sophomore; David Caddle, Saint Andrews Episcopal School, Freshman; Kaisha Colston, Ocean Springs High School, Sophomore; Jake Ellzey, Gulfport High School, Freshman; Celeste Garrett, Philadelphia High School, Freshman; Edith Marie Green, Oxford High School, Freshman; Myeisha Horne, Gulfport High School, Freshman; Avery Jackson, Leflore County High School, Freshman; Nikyra Jenkins, Coffeeville High School, Sophomore; Drew Jones, Ocean Springs High School, Sophomore; Serenity Kate, McComb High School, Sophomore; Avery Lyons, Bay High School, Freshman; MaTera McCollum, Provine High School, Freshman; Yujaira Minton, Gentry High School, Sophomore; Hannah Pitalo, Bay High School, Freshman; Mary Ruth Pridmore, Poplarville High School, Freshman; Jaylin Smith, Greenwood High School, Sophomore; Brian Townsend, Murrah, Sophomore; Caitlin Williams, Lafayette High School, Sophomore; Shontonia Willis, Southeast Lauderdale High School, Freshman

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