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“Leadership Kicks on Route 66” was the theme of this year’s Freshmen Top 10 Leadership Retreat at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO). The students were given a glimpse into how the City of Miami was established and some of the key individuals who led the way in its establishment. NEO students began by visiting the Ankenman Ranch, which houses the McNaughton Barn, an integral part of Miami’s history. From there the students explored the historic Old Route 66 and made several stops along the way. Other stops included stops the Miami Marathon Station, Coleman Theatre, Dobson Museum and G.A.R cemetery.

During their retreat students learned much about the founders of the community and how their leadership propelled the Miami into what it is today. “The Top 10 Leadership retreat was designed to promote engagement with local industries, provide networking opportunities, illustrate the importance of historical factors that build a community and allow students to witness how leaders function effectively within a variety of sectors,” said Ryan Orcutt, sponsor. “We position students as aspiring professionals capable of leveraging resources to address shifting community needs.”

In addition to exploring the community, Top 10 students heard from two current leaders from the area: Janie Sweeten-Tipton a Licensed Professional Counselor and Shana Draper, fourth vice president of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women, both from Grove, Oklahoma. These two women spoke during the students’ luncheon about the power of social media, interview skills, understanding one’s self, and the importance of giving back. “The retreat was beneficial and informative,” said Top 10 candidate Jesus Covarrubias. “Through the experience I learned a lot about Miami’s history and what leadership skills it takes to help shape a community.”

The group from NEO included: • Laura Ashlock: Kansas City, Mo. • Jesus Covarrubias: Commerce, Okla. • Brody Cridlebaugh: Princeton, Mo. • Jessica Cryan: Skiatook, Okla. • Taylor Gee: Coweta, Okla. • Hanna Minson: Vinita, Okla. • Mattie Moore: Harrisonville, Mo. • Sydney Reynolds: Pullman, Wash. • Tim Taylor: Vinita, Okla. • Madison Vaughan: Coweta, Okla.

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