UMaine Machias junior receives the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award

Machias, Maine — Kiesha Scott of Islesboro, a junior majoring in elementary education, with an elementary education concentration and a minor in psychology at the University of Maine at Machias, is the recipient of a 2022 John Lewis Youth Leadership Award.

Each year, a National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) member can award two individuals per state with the annual award, established in 2021 to honor the accomplishments of Congressman John Lewis. One of the original 13 Freedom Riders, Lewis was instrumental in leading the march on Washington in 1963 and spent many years in public service. 

Nominees for the national award are civic-minded young people under age 25 who demonstrate strong leadership skills, want to improve their community and have a passion for social justice. 

In September. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows invited Scott and her nominator, Tara Gray, coordinator of Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) at UMaine Machias, to a luncheon in Augusta with JMG CEO Craig Larrabee. Scott and Gray also were on a panel at this year’s JMG Board of Directors meeting, where Scott talked about her work in JMG and as a proponent of civil rights. 

Scott started her JMG journey in sixth grade as a student at Eastport Elementary. The Shead High School graduate is now an online student at UMaine Machias. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in political science and stay in Maine to work as a kindergarten teacher. 

In her nomination letter, Gray noted that Scott “is passionate about social justice, inclusivity, equity and women’s rights” and that she will “advocate for anyone and will always do what is right in every situation.”

For the past four summers, Scott has served as a camp counselor. Most recently, she was named coach of a middle school basketball team in Isleboro for the past season. 

“Not only does she (Scott) teach the students basketball skills, but (also) leadership, dedication and perseverance,” Gray says.