The call for nominations for our 3rd Young Leaders award has gone out. By May, we’ll be introducing you to 25 of the best and brightest high school seniors in South Jersey.

That’s the exciting and fun part.

Right now, there’s work to be done and it’s up to you.

It starts with the community of mentors, teachers, coaches or other leaders who work with our high school communities.

We need you to dig down and find the deserving high school seniors from Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland or southern Ocean counties who demonstrate the qualities of leadership and public service. While good grades and athletic prowess are admirable and enviable traits, this award is looking to recognize those who demonstrate service to their community.

If you have someone in mind, go to and nominate them. You’ll have to write a letter of recommendation and the nominated student will have to write an essay.

Once you’ve done your part, it’s up to us.

The nominations will be judged by an outside panel of community leaders, who will narrow down the group and select 25 winners.

We’ll contact the winners, arrange interviews, photograph them and write short bios highlighting their talents and achievements. We’ll publish a special section on May 16.

We’ll make a video of the group as well, which we’ll publish online and play at a special breakfast at Stockton’s Seaview Hotel and Golf Club resort in Galloway Township, where we will present each leader with a small scholarship to assist in their college tuition costs.

In case you can’t tell, this is an event we take great pride in, because it’s likely that these young leaders will grow into the country’s leaders in short time.

Recognizing their contributions is a small way of encouraging that development, one we happily make each year because of the payout.

But don’t take my word, take the words of last year’s young leaders. Asked to define leadership in one word, they found the many different facets that define someone worth following: Persistence. Confidence. Sacrifice. Approachable. Optimism. Dedication. Dependable. Determined. Unbroken. Humble. Integrity. Bold. Positive.

Past years’ winners are now freshman and sophomores in college, closer to unleashing their talents into the world.

We can’t wait, because the world needs leaders, ones with different approaches, but a common desire to succeed and help others thrive.

Students can be nominated by friends, family, school officials and members of the community. Nominations end March 1. For more information, to nominate a high school senior, or to see a video of last year’s Young Leaders, go to

W.F. “Buzz” Keough is managing editor of The Press of Atlantic City.

609-272-7238 @buzzkeough