Bright Future: Trinity senior attends Ole Miss leadership summit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Trinity Episcopal Day School student Lydia McClatchy, 17, attended the APEX Leadership Summit at the University of Mississippi this past summer. (Sam Gause |The Natchez Democrat)

Trinity Episcopal Day School student Lydia McClatchy, 17, attended the APEX Leadership Summit at the University of Mississippi this past summer. (Sam Gause |The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Flying squirrels and yo-yos rarely mix in the wild, but were perfect inspirations for Trinity senior Lydia McClatchy last summer.

McClatchy met her unlikely muses during the APEX Leadership Summit in June at the University of Mississippi. The event is a leadership program for high school and community college students.

“It was probably one of the best summer experiences I ever had,” Lydia McClatchy, 17, said.

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McClatchy, now a senior at Trinity Episcopal Day School, said she started off high school very shy.

“If you didn’t look, you wouldn’t know I was there,” McClatchy said.

But around the 10th grade McClatchy said she began gaining confidence.

“Now I want to become involved in everything,” McClatchy said.

She did just that.

McClatchy is now a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club and the CASKET book club.

McClatchy was also on the Trinity dance team before it was discontinued. After a year without dance, McClatchy joined Trinity’s cheerleading squad.

“I decided that I had to dance one more time on that field before I left,” McClatchy said.

Trinity’s cheerleading captain, Kailey Hutchins, 17, said McClatchy is one of a total of seven seniors on Trinity’s cheer team.

“She’s very good at keeping us on task,” Hutchins said.

She also said McClatchy is always willing to give a stunt another go.

“If we get down on something, she’ll keep us up,” Hutchins said.

This year McClatchy said she decided to try out an accounting class to see whether or not it’s for her, but she’s also considering a career in optometry.

McClatchy said she is considering several college options, but is leaning toward one.

“I’m looking at Ole Miss, especially after APEX,” McClatchy said.

McClatchy had applied for APEX in April with the encouragement of Trinity guidance counselor Lisa Allain.

“She kind of nominated four people from the upcoming senior class to apply for it,” McClatchy said.

McClatchy was accepted and found herself at Ole Miss June 12-15, surrounded by other students.

Once again, her outgoing nature kicked in.

“I probably made like 25 friends,” McClatchy said.

During the weekend’s activities, McClatchy was introduced to the Rebel Challenge Course, and one obstacle known as “The Flying Squirrel.”

Team members were hooked into a harness, McClatchy said. One team member would run one way while the others would run a different way.

This would result in a single team member getting lifted into the air, McClatchy said. Although McClatchy said she was nervous while participating, she recognized it as a good team-building exercise.

“You had to trust your teammates to get you up there,” McClatchy said.

McClatchy’s team was assigned a yo-yo on which to do a group project. McClatchy said the team had to look up the toy in a book called “Toy Box Leadership.”

McClatchy learned how, in the book, the yo-yo represented leadership with the string as the leader and the toy as the people. It also symbolized uniqueness and flexibility, McClatchy said.

From that premise, they had to produce a skit on the subject

“We really had to work together,” McClatchy said.

For their skit, her team decided to do a show called “Leader Feud,” based on the TV show “Family Feud.” The skit was interrupted by breaking news about how the yo-yo represented leadership.

“Then it went back to the show,” McClatchy said.

McClatchy said she is encouraging others to participate in APEX.

“I feel like these kind of programs can really inspire high school kids to become motivated to do something better with their lives,” McClatchy said.

McClatchy is the daughter of Robert and Sherrie McClatchy. She has two siblings, Joseph McClatchy, 21, and Kate McClatchy, 10.

Hutchins is the daughter of Chris and Skeeter Hutchins.