Students who belong to the Hillsborough County Youth Leadership Council (HCYLC) want the group to increase its membership and its influence in its third year.
The organization of 22 students from seven mostly North County high schools recently wrapped up the year with a brainstorming session. The students gathered at Country Place Recreation Center, 15728 Country Lake Drive, to speak about what they might do in 2017.
The consensus: Expand the group's membership to more Hillsborough County high schools, and continue to have a positive effect on academic programs and instruction.
"We should have a larger number of students here," said Thomas Mayer, a Sickles High School junior who has been a HCYLC member for more than a year.
Another member, Himan de Silva, a King High School senior, said he would like to see the group expand and "get more organized."
The students discussed possible goals for the coming year:
The HCYLC began as a pilot program in 2015, and is concluding its first full year as a fixture of Hillsborough County Schools. The idea is for the group to be a powerful voice for students and, as Steinbrenner High School junior Hannah Diskin said, identify problems and look for solutions.
In March, the group travelled to Tallahassee to see the Florida House and Senate in session. While in the state capital, members also participated in mock trials at the Florida Supreme Court.
They attended an anti-bullying roundtable in April, and discussed the group's mission on a local television program in July.
Members are encouraged to improve their leadership skills, and to follow actions taken by Hillsborough County Commissioners - particularly those affecting teens and young adults. In October, the Commission congratulated the Youth Leadership Council for its participation in the 13th Annual Neighborhoods Conference in July, and for its members' "dedication to uplifting young people such as yourselves."