Members of the Class of 2020 of Leadership Fayette County, along with their mentors, are Kristina Sizemore, Mattie Raven Stonestreet, Molly Pino, Joel Banks, Jazmin Smith, mentor Geoff Heeter, Sydney Feazell, Olivia Lively, Kelsey Gill, mentor Mandy Wriston (front), Bradley Lokant, Ayden Cook, Jenna Gladwell, Cayden Cox (back). Leadership Fayette County is a program of the Fayette County Education Fund, Inc.

The Leadership Fayette County youth program on Wednesday announced the group's Class of 2020.

Members of the 2020 class are:

Meadow Bridge High School — Jenna Gladwell; and

Oak Hill High School — Joel Banks, Ayden Cook, Cayden Cox, Sydney Feazell, Kelsey Gill, Olivia Lively, Bradley Lokant, Molly Pino, Kristina Sizemore, Jazmin Smith and Mattie Raven Stonestreet.

Since 2001, students in Fayette County entering their junior year of high school are selected by application and interview process to participate in the youth leadership program. Those juniors selected for the program attend 12 full-day sessions during their junior year.

A favorite of the sessions is Speaking Truth to Power during which students travel to Charleston to speak to Fayette County representatives of at the state capital. Students also meet with the state superintendent of schools and his cabinet.

During each session students develop a working knowledge of the entrepreneurs, agencies and programs that foster economic and social development in Fayette County. The sessions are designed to provide hands-on activities such as team building, public speaking, as well as self-assessment and improvement exercises. In addition, throughout the program students are immersed in critical and creative thinking-on-their-feet to become acclimated to the process of performing under pressure in real world situations. Those who successfully complete the leadership curriculum are awarded a $1000 scholarship during a spring graduation banquet.

The 2020 class will meet Oct. 10 at The Grove WV located at 103 Keller Ave., Fayetteville from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Fayette County Education Fund, Inc. (FCEF) is a 501c3 nonprofit that administers this and several other programs. This year the the FCEF is proud to announce an eighth grade program that will have four all-day sessions. The ultimate goal of the Fayette County Education Fund is to provide Fayette County youth with information and tools needed to enable them to make an informed choice to return to Fayette County upon completion of their higher education.

The FCEF has over 200 alumni and counting. Many of these alumni have returned to Fayette County as teachers, accountants, marketing directors, law enforcement officers, engineers, health care professionals, and small business owners. "We are very happy to now have two of our alumni on our board of directors helping to insure a better future for all of Fayette County," Mandy Wriston, LFC coordinator and mentor, said in a press release.

Scholarships and programming are made possible by donations to the Fayette County Education Fund, Inc., 501c3. Generous supporters include ACE Adventure Resort, Adventures on the Gorge, Ansted Lions Club, Appalachian Power Company, Bridge Walk, Fayette County Board of Education, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, Fayette County Commission, Fayette Institute of Technology, Fayette County National Bank, Fayette County Urban Renewal Authority, Hamilton Burgess Young & Pollard, Impel Promotions, New River Birding & Nature Festival, Opossum Creek Retreat, Robbins Company, the United Way of Southern West Virginia and other generous community members .

For more information go to birding-wv.com/fcef and you can follow the program at facebook.com/LeadershipFayetteCounty.

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