A pair of Southeast Colorado Springs students went head-to-head in February for the coveted title of Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region Youth of the Year.

Marissa Mitchell, a 17-year-old senior at James Irwin Charter High School, clinched the crown. Frankie Bridges, a 14-year-old eighth grader at Carmel Middle School proved stiff competition, and both contestants wowed the three-judge panel, said club Vice President Jrace Rider.

Mitchell is a veteran contestant who started her Youth of the Year quest as a freshman. She is a decorated scholar and accomplished musician who, following intensive study at the Colorado Springs Conservatory, has been named to the Tri-Peak and Colorado State University-Pueblo honor bands.

As a club member, Mitchell has been a student teacher and mentor, has instructed music and drama programming, and has volunteered with multiple programs within the community.

Bridges is a peer mentor, tutor and club assistant. She has been involved with programs such as the Torch Club, a character-and-leadership program for preteens.

Mitchell will represent the region at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Colorado state competition in Denver in March.

Southeast Springs residents had the chance to chat directly with their lawmakers last month thanks to a series of community meetings. 

State Rep. Tony Exum, whose 17th District blankets the area, hosted a town hall in support of Black History Month, where the focus was voting. Southeast residents packed into the Sand Creek Library meeting room to hear from a distinguished panel about the history of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, about a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that essentially reversed two provisions of that landmark civil rights law, and about the importance of voter participation today.

The panel included George Houston, global markets design and delivery manager for the Center for Creative Leadership and longtime community-service leader; Colorado College Senior Associate Dean of Students and award-winning mentor Rochelle T. Dickey-Mason; University of Colorado at Colorado Springs student and Legislative intern Philip Oke-Thomas; and Sierra High School senior and student leader La’Nye Vaughn.

At the same time, State Sen. Pete Lee and State Rep. Marc Snyder spoke with constituents about the 2020 Legislative session at Ivywild School.

City Councilor Yolanda Avila and Council President Richard Skorman chatted business development along the South Nevada Avenue corridor, among other things, on Feb. 25. The pair met with constituents at the Meadows Park Community Center to talk about the redeveloping business district, public safety, public transportation and other issues affecting the community.

And finally, a shout-out to all those who participated in the March 3 presidential primary. Voting is the most grassroots way to take control of your government, so well done, Southeast, making your voices heard. 

To submit an item for the High Five, email a detailed description of the event, including date and location, and photos with identifying information from left to right to features@southeastexpress.org. For more information, call Regan Foster at 719-578-2802.

Founding Editor and General Manager Regan Foster holds dual bachelor's degrees in journalism and Spanish, with a minor in Latin American studies, from the University of Iowa and a master's degree in journalism with specialization in political reporting and media management from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Over the course of nearly two decades, she has worked and lived in Alaska, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Colorado. Before being tasked with launching the Southeast Express, Foster was the youngest person and first woman ever hired to serve as The Pueblo Chieftain's editorial page editor, where she also worked as both the entertainment editor and the Life editor.


Founding Editor and General Manager Regan Foster holds dual bachelor's degrees in journalism and Spanish and a master's degree in journalism with specialization in political reporting and media management.