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CHS Senior Named Honor Graduate at Young Marines’ National Leadership Academy

CHS Senior recognized for Young Marines service and leadership.

Clarkston High School senior and youth member of the Young Marines, YM/Cpl Mackenzie Ayriss was named Honor Graduate of the Young Marines’ Junior Leadership School at the National Leadership Academy held in Warrenton, Oregon. Mackenzie is a member of the Lapeer County Young Marines in Lapeer, Mich.

The Young Marines is a national youth leadership and service program for boys and girls aged eight through high school graduation. The leadership academy focuses on teaching Young Marines leadership, teamwork, and self-discipline.

Mackenzie trained for a week to become a better leader alongside Young Marines from across the country. After physical and written tests, leadership classes, and close order drill, she was selected as the Honor Graduate of the Junior Leadership School.

“The National Leadership Academy is the highest level of leadership training offered by the Young Marines,” said Col William P. Davis USMC (Ret), national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “YMCpl Ayriss will take her new leadership skills back to the Lapeer County Young Marines and her community.”

Mackenzie joined the Young Marines in 2019 and has been in the program for two years. She was invited to the NLA because of her dependability, motivation, and her ability to place others’ needs before her own.

“The Young Marines program has taught me how to be patient, how to communicate effectively, and how to absorb information,” Mackenzie said. “I was able to work with other motivated young leaders who are also striving to become better individuals.”

After graduating CHS this spring, Mackenzie plans to go to college to study criminal justice or liberal arts.

About the Young Marines: The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501 (c)(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork, and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 235 units with 7,500 youth and 2,500 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Japan, and affiliates in a host of other countries.

For more information, visit the official website at:

About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have a virtual academy, an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.

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Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Director of Marketing and Community Relations (248) 623-5460.

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