PLAS’ Fleming tapped for HOBY Conference

Published 10:52 pm Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference, designed for high school sophomores with exceptional leadership qualities, takes place this weekend.

There are 270 sophomores registered for this year’s conference and only one from Pike County, Amy Fleming of Pike Liberal Arts School.

“Amy was chosen based on her overall academic and extracurricular activities. She was one of the top sophomores at the school,” said Pike Liberal Arts Counselor Susan Carr. Fleming was selected by the faculty.

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The sophomores that participate in the conference are chosen by the individual schools application and interview process, essay contests or simply the counselors’ choice.

“We have a strong relationship with the counselors, and they know the students better than we do,” said Ryan Spry, the state leadership seminar chairman.

HOBY has been operational in the state of Alabama for 30 years and it is the sixth year at Troy University after outgrowing the facilities of Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

According to Spry, Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., Troy University’s chancellor, allowed both of his daughters to go through the program and was excited to open the university’s doors to the program.

Spry wants to establish a HOBY Scholarship program at the university, similar to the Girl’s State program.

“Hugh O’Brian wanted to establish a leadership conference for sophomores in high school because he felt it was a good age,” Spry said.

“Sophomores are at an impressionable age.”

Freshmen aren’t quite ready, juniors are still trying to find their way and seniors are already mentally set, he said.

The participants will hear from five different speakers and work on a Hunger service project throughout the three-day conference, which is broken into three phases.

Phase I is the Individual Leadership Seminar with the winner of 2009’s Miss Alabama, Liz Cochran, as the speaker.

Phase II is the Group Leadership Seminar with a panel of speakers: Bobby Jon Drinkard, contestant on 2 seasons of “Survivor” and host of the “On the Job” television show; Craig Kennedy, Troy Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach; and Keisha Smith, from Auburn University’s Camp War Eagle.

Phase II is the Leadership for Service Seminar with Eva Newman, a Holocaust Survivor, as the speaker.

One girl and one boy at the conference will be awarded a $1,500 scholarship to attend the World Leadership Congress at the University of California, Los Angeles.