Appl⁠i⁠ca⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ons open for Lowcoun⁠t⁠ry s⁠t⁠uden⁠t⁠ leadersh⁠i⁠p program

March 18, 2024

Bryce Fiedler

CALN Founding Member & CALN Board of Directors Secretary

Students Walking in the Hallway

A leadership program in South Carolina’s Lowcountry gives high school students a chance to speak about issues facing the community. The year-long opportunity, known as the City of Charleston Mayor’s Youth Commission, aims to create a healthy dialogue between young people and local officials.  

According to WCSC (Live5News), students on the commission will meet quarterly with Charleston County Mayor William Cogswell, along with staff from the Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families about once a month. Students are asked for their input and ideas on how to tackle community problems.  

WCSC reports on the thinking behind the program:

“We don’t always have an avenue to listen to our young people if you’re not in the schools, a school teacher or something of that nature. This is a wonderful way for us to invite their voices. Youth are the future. This is going to be their city, so it’s great for them to be able to have a say in what’s going on,” [Director of the Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families Mindy] Sturm says. 

The program is open to students in grades 8–11 attending a public, private, charter or home school in Charleston County. To apply, students need to fill out an application and answer brief questions explaining why they want to join the commission. They also need to submit an essay writing about the three most important issues facing today’s young generation.  

The city asks interested students to apply by Mar. 27.  

It was in 1999, after the Columbine High School tragedy, that former Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. created the program to help young people speak about challenges they might be facing or seeing. WCSC explains that mental health is a commonly raised topic, and that officials help by connecting students with counselors and other resources.