Future Leaders

HONORING YOUTH — Antelope Valley Press Publisher Mike McMullin speaks at the 2019 Future Leaders award ceremony Wednesday night. The special section in the Valley Press started in 2001 to showcase the most ambitious young people in local schools.

LANCASTER­ — The An­tel­ope Valley Press wel­comed and con­gratulated its 2019 Future Leaders at an award ceremony Wed­nesday night in the Grand Ballroom of the University of Antelope Valley.

More than one hundred guests including young leaders and their family and friends filled the dining room tables mingling and high-fiving each other for a job well done.

The special section in the Valley Press started in 2001 to showcase the most am­bitious young peop­le in local schools. The 2019 hon­orees come from di­verse backgrounds and have various interests that in­clude sports, academics and community service.

The 35 students rep­re­sent 15 high schools in the Antelope Valley and were selected out of a pool of 100 nominees. These stu­dents were nominated by coach­es, counselors, par­ents, pastors, teachers and oth­ers who are familiar with their commitment to service and goals after high school, as well as their work ethic.

The selection process looks at the entire in­dividual: who they are, how they compare in a highly competitive society, their academic and professional goals, what they have al­ready and what they hope to accomplish.

Now in its 19th year, the Future Leaders special section was created to ac­cen­tu­ate the positive and cel­e­brate the uplifting truth that the Antelope Val­ley is populated by le­gions of young people who are traveling on the road of hope for the future.

“Many times the media gets criticized for reporting on the negative things,” Val­ley Press Publisher Mike McMullin said. “Fu­ture Leaders is one of the most positive stories we can present to the public.”

At the ceremony, Mc­Mul­lin started with in­tro­duc­tions thanking the spon­sors of the event— AV Graphix, University of Antelope Valley and Go!DJ Entertainment for pro­viding printed mat­er­ials, venue, catering and music.

He also recognized the sev­eral dignitaries who showed their support and pro­vided the awards for the evening­ which included the city of Lancaster, the city of Palmdale and representatives for Con­gress­woman Katie Hill, As­sem­bly­man Tom Lackey, state Sen. Scott Wilk and Los Angeles County Fifth Dis­trict Supervisor Kath­ryn Barger.

Sandra Johnson, Uni­ver­sity of Antelope Valley co-founder, gifted a $500 schol­arship to the uni­ver­sity to each honored student along with their certificate of recognition.

“We’re all about the com­munity here,” she said. “We want to give back and encourage the students to gift them to someone they know if they already have the privilege of attending school elsewhere.”

Thanks to the university culinary students, a pasta dinner was served — a first for the event. In previous years, it was a dessert banquet.  

Glenna McKie, field rep­resentative for As­sem­bly­man Tom Lackey, has come to the Future Leaders awards ceremony many times in the past.

“This year’s event seemed so nice with dinner being served,” she said.

When asked why the Val­ley Press should con­tinue on with this special sec­tion in recognizing fu­ture leaders, McKie re­plied: “This should be done for the purpose of giving students hope to be better and achieve greater. The youth of today need to know they can be and do anything they set their minds to. It’s about giving them the initiative to do better and be given help that will ultimately help them as young leaders.”

Highland High School senior George Aguilar said being named a Future Lead­er was something he felt accomplished about, as if all his hard work was fi­nal­ly being recognized.

“I feel really proud,” Ag­uilar said. “This is a lovely event and very professional; it sets the scene for my future.”

Palmdale High School ju­nior Kimberly Abadillo said she was surprised, shocked and happy when she found out she was a Fu­ture Leader. Her par­ents, Ada Montenegro and Oscar Abadillo, said they were proud she got sel­ect­ed and that the whole cer­e­mony was beautiful.

Antelope Valley High senior Joseph Ramirez gave his thanks to the Val­ley Press and all the dig­ni­taries for recognizing him and his fellow students.

His dad, Rick Ramirez said he was proud of his son’s accomplishments.

“This has been a journey for him,” he said. “He’s turn­ing out to be a very re­spon­sible young man with a great future ahead of him.”

To share your opinion on this article or any other article, write a letter to the editor and email it to editor@avpress.com or mail it to Letters to Editor, PO Box 4050, Palmdale CA 93590-4050.

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