On The Mountain, you find delegates of every background, all with a different story to tell. Sharing our stories can often help uplift or inspire another student which is why it is so important that we highlight the outstanding when we see it.

Jariah Cole (TX State 2018 House Speaker) with Speaker of Texas House of Representatives

2018 Texas Youth Speaker of the House Jariah Cole poses with her adult counterpart, Texas Speaker Joe Straus on the podium in the Texas House of Representatives. PHOTO contributed

Jariah Cole, a returning delegate from Texas Youth and Government, has had to overcome hardships to get to where she is today. In her second year on The Mountain, she has already served as a Proposal Sharing Group leader. Back home, she has served a multitude of roles including president of her own YAG club. At this year’s state program, she served as Speaker of the House. It is clear watching from a distance that Jariah is a leader.

“Life is filled with mistakes,” Jariah said. “When I was a sophomore at the state conference, I presided as a chair for a committee. Time was already an issue and I accidentally passed a motion that didn’t allow the remaining delegates to present their bills.”

While some obstacles have turned into learning and teaching moments in YAG, Jariah has also overcome her own personal hardships.

“When I was 14, my dad passed away, which was really hard for my family, because he was very involved and always in my life,” Jariah said.

Jariah said everything she has had to overcome gives her a purpose for her work as a leader.

“These hardships make me a great leader, because I can use my story to inspire others,” Jariah said. “I use my past to represent how relentless one should be in their life.”

There are many ways people display leadership and being a good leader means something different to everyone. Jariah has shown leadership, not only in YAG, but at her school where she is serving as senior class president and also is a part of a mentorship program.

“Being a good leader is being a mentor, selfless, relentless and self aware,” Jariah said. “I make it a goal to [train] a leader while I lead. I also make an effort to tend to everyone’s needs in the group. Everyone should feel needed and important.”

Jariah shared that to her, YAG is a family, and CONA is an extended part of that. In her final year of high school, there is much to look forward to but Jariah does not plan to leave Youth and Government behind.

“After high school, I plan to attend an out-of-state university to pursue accounting or business management,” Jariah said. “For YAG, I plan to train my younger peers so that the program can grow and stay healthy. I also want to give back after I graduate. I will come back to volunteer and just help out to the program that means so much to me.”

By Gloria Ogunlade, TX