City of Asheville announces Youth Leadership Academy’s incoming Class of 2016-2017

The City of Asheville has selected the incoming class of the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA).


CAYLA, created in April 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 and School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville (SILSA) 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 CarePartners, the Omni Grove Park Inn, LEAF, JB Media and VisionSource.


“CAYLA provides talented students with the opportunity to experience a professional environment while still in high school,” said Erika Germer, CAYLA director. “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.”


In addition to their summer wages, CAYLA students will each receive a $2,000 scholarship to support their goal of attending college at the completion of the program in May 2017.


In addition to the summer internships, the CAYLA program places a significant emphasis on community service and social justice issues. Over the years, the CAYLA students have dedicated more than 3,500 hours to nonprofits such as MANNA, ABCCM, the Salvation Army, Brother Wolf, and Habitat for Humanity. They plan the annual MLK Youth Summit and facilitate a peer mentoring afterschool program at Asheville Middle School’s IRL.


More than 140 local students have participated in CAYLA since its inception. More than 80 percent of CAYLA alumni are still attending college or have completed their degree.


The members of the 2016-2017 Class of CAYLA are: Candida Alas-Ortega, CeeCret Allen, Isabel Arredondo, Angelique Ayoade, Mercy Beveridge, Devin Boston, Dana Campbell Jr., Zoe Cecil, Korina Dariy, Tanya Davila, Cederia Davis, D’Angelo Elliott, Itzel Garcia Ruiz, Keenan Hines, Erykah Howard, Rayanna Inniss, Shamone Jones, Arianna Moore, Myra Pearson, Jamie Rhodes, Jasmine Riddle, Sophia Rutherford, Angel Vasquez Ramirez, Zion Walker and Ashley White.