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Champions of Change - Zion Walker, Carter G. Woodson Academy, Distinguished Leader Award

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Zion Walker, Distinguished Leader Award Zion Walker, Distinguished Leader Award

Woodson junior receives Distinguished Leader Award

The Leadership Lexington Youth Program presented its 2017 Distinguished Leader Award to Zion Walker of Carter G. Woodson Academy. He accepted the plaque April 12 at the LLYP graduation luncheon, held at Fasig-Tipton. “This program opened my eyes to all that Lexington and the world have to offer and all that is possible,” Zion said as the eight-month series wrapped up. 

Class members nominate candidates for the award, and the program’s steering committee selects the winner, who receives a $1,000 scholarship upon high school graduation. Peers recommending Zion noted how he always made others feel included, took the utmost care with every task, and always displayed enthusiasm and great preparation. 

LLYP encourages high school juniors to network with community leaders and to explore local issues, post-secondary options, career fields, and business opportunities. This year’s class included nearly four dozen students, mostly from Fayette County Public Schools. One Wednesday each month, they ventured into different segments such as government and public safety, arts and media, economic development, health and human services, and higher education. 

At the closing luncheon, keynote speaker Matthew Mitchell talked about how competency, communication, and character are essential components of leadership. Leadership is not a destination but a lifelong journey, said Mitchell, who coaches women’s basketball at the University of Kentucky. “It’s a state of mind where you’re working hard to help people to achieve more than they could on their own,” he said. “Your leadership can have a transformative effect.” 

Mitchell also encouraged the students to base their life on principles, not emotions. His top three are honesty, hard work, and discipline. Sticking with strong principles, “you can really separate yourself as a leader,” he said. 

After each student walked onstage to receive their graduation plaque, Zion collected the Distinguished Leader Award. It goes to a class member who demonstrates strong principles, dedication to community service, creativity, good communication and interpersonal skills, and the potential to make a difference in the community. The selection criteria also include attendance record, participation, and willingness to reflect on all LLYP activities. 

Congratulations, Zion for being an LEX 18 Champion of Change!

For more on LLYP, visit the Commerce Lexington website or call program coordinator Amy Carrington at (859) 226-1600.


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