Inaugural Oktibbeha Young Leaders program taking applications

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership

Two highly-involved entities in the community have come together to offer local high school students an opportunity to grow as leaders.

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership (GSDP) and Starkville Rotary Club have organized the first-ever Oktibbeha Young Leaders program, which is scheduled to begin this fall.

The program is currently accepting applications from high school freshmen within the Starkville community who will be sophomores for the 2018-2019 school year.

The nine-month leadership program for high school sophomores is designed to develop an energetic and diverse group of informed and qualified students who will become Starkville’s future business and community leaders.

“We’re looking forward to partnering with the Rotary Club to provide this program to our community’s youth,” GSDP President and CEO Scott Maynard said.

Rotary Club member and former GSDP chair Michelle Amos said the program has been considered by both entities for the last few years, but had not be put into place.

“As both organizations recognize the importance of strong educational opportunities in a thriving community, this partnership is perfect,” Amos said. “We are able to offer a fantastic program for upcoming sophomores to broaden their horizons and further develop their leadership skills.”

Oktibbeha Young Leaders will allow students to explore varying aspects of business and economic development, education, law and criminal justice, health care, quality of life, and government.

Activities from the program are designed to develop skills in teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, communication, organization and planning, ethics, networking, personal development and leadership skills.
Membership director for the GSDP and Rotary member Hunter Harrington is coordinating the program.

“Oktibbeha Young Leaders is so unique because it’s going to provide so many great experiences for participants, and our youth will be able to collaborate with local businesses, as well as other community resources to gain opportunities that so many people don’t get to have,” Harrington said.

To be eligible for the program, students must be a high school sophomore the following year, maintain an 80 percent average, submit an online application and essay, and have two recommendations.
The application process is completely online and can be found at

Applications for the inaugural class are due March 9 at midnight.

For more information regarding the program or for questions concerning applications, contact Harrington at (662)-323-3322 or by email at