City Announces Youth Leadership Academy’s Class of 2015


The City of Asheville is proud to announce the incoming class of the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA). CAYLA, created in 2007, places Asheville High School students in prestigious summer internships and offers ongoing leadership development throughout the academic year. The vast majority of CAYLA students will be the first in their families to attend college. The program is supported in part by Buncombe County.

CAYLA students are chosen from eligible applicants at Asheville High School by a committee of community leaders. Each student is required to submit an essay application and two teacher recommendations to the committee, and attend an in-person interview. After attending an orientation in June, students will begin 8-week internships at the both City and County Departments, as well as with a number of participating nonprofits and businesses including Moog Music, AVL Technologies, the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, Sisters of Mercy, MAHEC, JB Media and Habitat for Humanity.

“CAYLA provides talented students with the opportunity to experience a professional environment while still in high school,” said Erika Germer, CAYLA coordinator. “I encourage Asheville businesses to consider hosting a CAYLA student next year or sponsoring a placement at a local nonprofit. Through public-private partnerships, CAYLA can promote economic self-sufficiency and strengthen our community as a whole.”

CAYLA students earn $8.00 an hour. Each student will also receive a $2,000 scholarship at the completion of the program to support their goal of attending college.

In addition to the summer internships, the CAYLA program places a significant emphasis on community service. Over the years, the CAYLA students have dedicated more than 2,600 hours to nonprofits such as MANNA, ABCCM, the Salvation Army, Brother Wolf, and Habitat for Humanity.

More than 100 local students have participated in CAYLA since its inception. More than 85 percent of CAYLA alumni are still attending college or have completed their degree.

The members of the 2014-2015 Class of CAYLA are: Candida Alas-Ortega, Kanaje Allen, Brittany Boseman, Korina Dariy, Michael Davis, Joshua Garcia-Billings, Itzel Garcia-Ruiz, Jahni Gilliland, Raekwon Griffin, Taekwon Griffin, Ella Heldreth-Schmitt, Phoenix Keyser, Antares Lance, Mariah Lee, Josue Lomeli-Garcia, Shaunessy Lofton, Diana Marquez, Oscar Marquez, Cindy Marquez, Randesha Neely, Mikayla Ray, Jamie Rhodes, Symone’ Simmons, Satorrius Uddyback, and
Promyss Watley.

Click here for more information about the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy.