Cohoes High School students Shannon Cepiel and Hannah Ragule were recently honored for completing the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program.
Cepiel and Ragule, both juniors, met once a month for seven months at Skidmore College with about 30 other high school students from around the region. Each month, the group worked collaboratively on projects geared toward improving a particular leadership trait.
“It’s an opportunity to learn skills you’ll need in everyday life and grow as an individual,” Cepiel said.
As part of the program, the group was broken into committees tasked with planning various aspects of the RYLA banquet.
“It helped me get out of my comfort zone and be comfortable talking to and working with new people,” Ragule said.
Cepiel said the experience taught her many lifelong skills.
“Public speaking is probably the best thing I’ll take away,” she said. “It helped me be more confident to speak in class, even just speaking to teachers.”