High five

It’s been all about student success in Southeast for the past few months. 

On Feb. 19, Southeast Express editor Regan Foster had the honor of helping judge the 2019 Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region Youth of the Year contest. Three teens — Zane Merrill, Marissa Mitchell and Rebecca Starnes — undertook the tasks of writing essays; gathering letters of recommendation; building an application packet; writing, memorizing and delivering without prompts a three-minute speech; and participating in an intense question-and-answer session with a five-judge panel. 

Zane Merrill

Zane Merrill

Marissa Mitchell

Marissa Mitchell

Rebecca Starnes

Rebecca Starnes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judging took place on a snowy night at the Hotel Eleganté in Southeast, and Foster reports that choosing the winner was no easy task. 

Starnes was crowned the Youth of the Year at a gala event and fundraiser on Feb. 21. She headed to Denver on Tuesday to compete for the state title; however, the results were not released as of our deadline.

The newest Council o Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) Southeast Colorado Springs community advocates present the research and recommendations. [Courtesy photo/Trina Bivens]

An additional 11 community advocates are hitting Southeast streets, after the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) graduated its second Southeast advocate class on March 6. The nine-week training program saw the adult students identifying a problem in Southeast, and researching and presenting their solution. 

They chose to explore a lack of opportunity in the neighborhood — specifically issues with job development and training, and transportation. The solution, they proposed, was to continue growing social-impact employers as modeled by the Solid Rock Community Development Corp., The Men’s Xchange, The Community Barbershop and Salon Hub and Pub, and the coming Mission Trace community hub. 

The students presented their findings during a public graduation event at the SCP Hotel, capping an intense year of training enthusiastic residents the many facets of community leadership, said CONO Southeast Community Coordinator Julie Ramirez. 

And Solid Rock CDC bid a happy congratulations to seven graduates on March 20 at the Solid Rock Christian Center. The students were the first to complete the Fresh Start Investment Program, an eight-week initiative to help those who have been directly impacted by the prison system become business owners. 

Of the seven budding business owners who completed the program, three received the ultimate graduation gift — funding and support to get their proposals off the ground. We wish them, and all future Southeast entrepreneurs, the best of luck. We look forward to high-fiving your future success. 

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.

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