Miriam-Webster defines statesman as a wise, skillful and respected political leader. During each annual session of the Alabama Youth Legislature, adult advisers select one delegate from each of the legislative chambers as THE outstanding statesman for that chamber.
In the House and Senate, the award is named for Jere Hardy, one of the founders of the Alabama Youth Legislature program.
The Alabama YMCA Youth Legislature began in December 1948, when the Selma YMCA, under the leadership of Paul Grist and Jere Hardy, invited Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y representatives from throughout the state to a special meeting called to study the success and benefits of the Georgia Youth Assembly.
From this meeting, the decision was made to begin an Alabama YMCA Youth Legislature, in which young people could actually experience how the legislative process works and develop skills to become future leaders of our state and nation.
The young people who served in that tradition in their respective chambers in 2018 were:
Jere Hardy Award House: Daniel Carmichael, Mountain Brook High School
Jere Hardy Award Senate: Brett Bonikowski, Loveless Academic Magnet Program, Montgomery
Outstanding Statesmen First Year: Austin King, Smiths Station High School, Auburn
Photos by Turner Cole, Mountain Brook High School