Valdosta City School District

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VMS Student Named Local YEA! Contest Winner

Jalen, a consistent honor roll student, stated within his short essay response, “I want to have my own business and also make a difference in students’ lives who have learning disabilities.” Jalen was joined by his little sister Laila, along with his mother Sharah Denton and father Edgar Denton.
YEA! is a program of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. Staff members from the chamber were also present to support Jalen and enjoy Mellow Mushroom pizza and much more.

YEA! Valdosta Program Director, DeWayne Johnson said, “It is truly inspirational to see our young, future
leaders step into action and express their desires to own, real businesses and seek an opportunity to
pitch their ideas to executive leaders for real start-up funding. We are extremely proud of each student
that entered the contest and those that have and will be applying to the program.”
Johnson announced that Jaden will be amongst the national program’s first class of middle school and high school students in Valdosta in front of a Mellow Mushroom audience of guests. Johnson added, “Mellow Mushroom played an intricate role in allowing us to announce the Jaden in front of their full house of restaurant guests. We would like to express a special thank you to Mellow Mushroom manager Gary Magee and his staff.”

Local students ages 11 to 18 from across the local area have an opportunity to become real CEOs at the
end of the 30-week program. YEA! offers programs in over 110 communities across the United States.
During the course of the YEA! program, which aligns with the school academic year, students work
closely with business leaders, community leaders and educators to guide them as they learn to transform
ideas into real, tangible companies that create economic and social value.

As applicants are currently being interviewed for its 25 student capacity, students and parents can find
out more information and how to apply by emailing DeWayne or Amanda Johnson at or call (229) 588-0866. The application deadline is September 15,
2017. However, it is recommended that students begin the process early as tuition is required and the
start of the program is right around the corner, beginning late September 2017.