Etcetera - 01/20/11

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Walla Walla High School freshman Khaila McKinzy is currently raising funds to cover the $1,190 tuition at the National Young Leaders State Conference. She will gather with fellow young leaders from May 19-22 in Bellevue, Wash., according to a release.

Khaila (say Kyla), who is taking honors classes at Wa-Hi, was nominated based on her academic achievement and leadership potential.

Her father, Dorsey McKinzy of Walla Walla, said "the experience could change her whole life and give her a better future. She's 15 and the conference could make her look for higher achievements in her life. The people she'll listen to and meet at the conference can make a difference. We are working to give her the opportunities and make her a viable person in society."

The release from NYLSC noted that, " ... we believe Khaila has the strength of character and leadership ability that will allow her to get the most out of this unparalleled opportunity."

The conference features workshops such as team building, goal setting, interpersonal communication skills, self-awareness, presentation skills, decision making, group dynamics, personal leadership in action, conflict management and the power of words, and several social activities.

At previous NYLSC gatherings, students have heard such distinguished speakers as Al Gore, former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize winner; Colin L. Powell, U.S. Army general retired; Janet Reno, U.S. attorney general; Jesse Jackson, president of the National Rainbow Coalition; and Eleanor Clift, Washington correspondent with Newsweek.

With the help of friends, Dorsey, wife Catherine McKinzy, and Khaila's maternal grandparents and her mom, Kim Thomas of Seattle, have raised $350 for the effort, Dorsey said.

Among her fundraising projects, Khaila plans to sell raffle tickets at Walmart beginning on Saturday.

Dorsey was a shipping supervisor with Isaacson Steel in Seattle until he was hurt some years ago on the job and had to retire on disability. The McKinzys moved to Walla Walla around 2007, he said.

Dorsey said Khaila loves school. She is a member of her youth group at Grace Ministries and was a dancer in Walla Walla Community College Foundation's summer musical, "Footloose," last summer at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater.

For more information or to contribute to Khaila's tuition fund, contact Dorsey at 525-3005, or write 604 Francis Ave., Walla Walla.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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