April 30, 2024

Community-driven Leesburg Senior Advocates Nationally for Skilled Workforce Programs

1.6 min read| Published On: April 30th, 2024|

By Cindy Peterson

Community-driven Leesburg Senior Advocates Nationally for Skilled Workforce Programs

1.6 min read| Published On: April 30th, 2024|

Luke Yoakum

Family Legacy: I am the third generation to graduate from LHS, from grandparents on both sides. Unfortunately, my great-grandfather passed a few years back, but I always thought I would make him proud to give back to a community he loved. He and my great-grandmother opened the original Decorating Den on Main Street, and he served the City of Leesburg as battalion chief at Leesburg Fire Station 61.

Giving Back: On top of my high academics, I prioritize giving back to our community. We always talk about supporting the trades, but I serve SkillsUSA nationally, representing over half a million active members. This opportunity was only awarded to eight high school students across the country. In my role, I help lead the largest gathering of America’s future skilled workforce and the ultimate recognition of excellence in career and technical education.

Advocacy: I serve as an advocate for Career and Technical Programs, flying back and forth to Washington, D.C. frequently to meet with representatives in Congress and from top CTE (career and technical education) lobbying firms and departments of the president’s executive cabinet.

Future Endeavors: Chef John Bell has inspired me to one day give back by teaching. Many people here in Leesburg struggle to put food on their plates. I think there is an easy solution to teach our kids framework skills in schools. These fundamental skills, like integrity, teamwork and leadership are needed in the real world. Suppose we instill these values in our programs via career and technical student organizations like FFA and SkillsUSA. We can transform our community so that people not only come to our AICE (The Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education) academy, but also learn how to make the most of their four years of high school before leaving for college, a career or the military.

Final Words of Advice: Always to push yourself to be your very best and become comfortable being uncomfortable. The most important thing to learn in life is there are no limits to your success if you set your mind to a task and work towards it.  

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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