The City of Southlake along with CISD Trustees and members of the Southlake Chamber of Commerce came together on Thursday, May 9 at The Marq Southlake to honor the students involved in the SKIL (Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership) program in the fourth Annual SKIL Awards Reception.
SKIL is a youth leadership program where students and adults can work together to make Southlake a better community by enhancing engagement with the City’s youth through educational and leadership opportunities. The program was created in partnership between the City, the Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce.
“I always had the vision for SKIL to be an opportunity for our community’s youth to have a seat at the table with our local leaders and help us solve our local challenges. SKIL has given these young leaders a chance to learn how things work in our community, what it takes to get them done and how good choices can be made,” said Mayor Laura Hill, the founder of the SKIL program.
Over the last year, SKIL students have had the opportunity to spend a day on the job with area business leaders during the program’s Annual Day of Internship, where area businesses like The Barrows Firm, Educational Employees Credit Union (EECU), Highland Landscaping and many others gave students an inside perspective to their business operation. The students also got the opportunity to learn from leaders at TD Ameritrade, who became a partner in the SKIL program just this last year. The students learned about the inner workings of the financial services company and presented solutions to obstacles that were presented.
In addition to learning about businesses, municipal government and school district operations, the SKIL students paid a visit to the Texas State Capital, where they had a chance to meet Representative Giovanni Capriglione and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen about important matters affecting everyone in Texas and the importance of leadership in those matters.
“This program has become more comprehensive and illustrates all the different aspects that impact a community,” said City Staff Liaison, Daniel Cortez. “Not only do the students learn about what’s going on locally, but they get the chance to see how it fits into the larger picture with our state leadership.”
Since the program began in 2015, it has seen a phenomenal amount of support from the community and program volunteers. Each year, 20 high school Junior students are selected by Carroll Senior High School staff, which now makes a total of 80 students that have participated in the program.
As the latest 20 students of the SKIL program were honored at the May 9 reception, a scholarship was also awarded by the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. The recipient was Zeena Mahmud, who demonstrated a high level of engagement in the program and willingness to lead in a variety of capacities. “I cannot put into words how thankful I am for the city of Southlake and what they have done and provided for us,” said Mahmud.
For more information about SKIL, please visit the City’s website.
The future never looked brighter than it did Wednesday, May 17, night at The MarqSouthlake. City leaders, Mayor Laura Hill, CISD trustees, parents and students involved in the SKIL (Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership) program convened to celebrate the end of the program’s successful second year.
SKIL is a youth leadership program created in partnership between the City of Southlake, the Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. The program’s mission is to enhance engagement with the city’s youth through education and leadership opportunities, or, in Mayor Hill’s words, “to give the kids a seat at the table.”
Before Mayor Hill took the stage to discuss the program and bestow accolades upon the SKIL participants, Daniel Cortez opened the evening with some remarks about the program.
Cortez, the program’s City staff liaison, spoke about how proud he was of this year’s SKIL group, which includes 20 juniors from Carroll Senior High School. After starting the program in October, the group visited various departments throughout the city, and also visited the capitol in Austin to learn about leadership at the state level.
The program’s second year culminated with a presentation to City Council on Tuesday night, followed by the awards reception on Tuesday. During the ceremony, Mayor Hill awarded each student with a plaque and a Certificate of Achievement. Carroll Senior High teacher Eddie Morman, Chamber President Mark Guilbert and CISD Superintendent Dr. David Faltys also spoke about their pride in the program, but the Mayor wasn’t finished doling out awards to the crop of talented Dragons.
SKIL student Ganeev Kaur was awarded $2,500 for the college of her choice, and Kaur currently plans to study medicine after graduating from Carroll Senior High in 2018. Furthermore, Kaur will be interning in State Representative Giovanni Capriglione’s office this summer—just one example of the stellar work being done by the motivated students in the SKIL program.
Applications for next year’s SKIL group will open up in August, and next year’s group will have big shoes to fill. As Morman said, “There’s no doubt about it—these kids are the best of the best.”
Visit the City website to learn more about the SKIL program.