Motivated by family,
Madras student is a natural leader
Madras High School senior Yael Carlon is involved in just about every school leadership opportunity there is.
He’s the student body president, the yearbook editor, a soccer team captain, the leadership president, and even the school district’s student advisor to the school board.
“I really see being in places of leadership as a way for me to give voice to the students and my community,” said Carlon. “I want to bring to light the voices and opinions of my school community to the people who are making the decisions.”
Carlon says he didn’t always think he was cut out for leadership roles. As a freshman, he felt unengaged at school. It wasn’t until a community member reached out and saw his potential that he began pursuing leadership as a voice for others. Carlon joined Key Club, the student segment of the Kiwanis Club, run by Kim Schmith.
“Mrs. Schmith saw in my something and really pushed me to try new things. I’ve been in student body and doing all kinds of activities. She really saw my potential before even I did,” said Carlon.
Carlon says that a big motivator for him comes from his family. Carlon lives in Madras, with his mother and siblings. His father was deported when Yael was 9 years old. “My family doesn’t always understand what I’m doing, but they always support me,” said Carlon. “My little brother is a big part of why I push myself and work hard. I want to help him see that he can succeed.”
Carlon shared that his experience with a family where many don’t speak English pushed him to work hard. He added that the support from teachers and community members along the way has made him see his potential.
Representing others in his community that are traditionally underserved is important to Carlon. Madras High School is one of the most diverse in the state, and in 2021 had a 39.4% Hispanic/Latino population. To Carlon, his leadership roles allow him to be an advocate.
“I want to use my roles and work hard so that all our students, regardless of their status, race, if they know English or where they live, can access the resources the school has to offer and can have opportunity to succeed.”
Carlon’s teachers see the same drive in him in everything he does, from the league-winning champion soccer team to working with Key Club and Operation Rudolph.
“Yael is a driven young man who is self-made in many ways,” said Madras High Dean of Students and Leadership Adviser Cam Rosenfield. “Yael has the grit and patience that makes him an integral part of any team.”
Carlon’s unique role is on the Jefferson County School District 509J Board. The school began a program in 2021 to have a student representative that brought student activities, achievements and needs to the school board’s attention. Carlon has served in that role for the 2022/23 school year. He says it’s been integral to feeling like he’s making a difference in his community.
Carlon isn’t sure where to go to college. However, he knows he wants to pursue a degree related to serving others.