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story.lead_photo.caption Dr. Mary Ellen Young

Dr. Mary Ellen Young was named 2020 Idalee Raffaelli Hawkins Leader of the Year by the Leadership Texarkana Alumni Association.

The annual award was established in 1995 to honor an outstanding Leadership Texarkana graduate. The award was named after and inspired by 1981 Leadership Texarkana alum Idalee Raffaelli Hawkins, who set a lasting example of her willingness to give to her family and the community.

The award is presented to Leadership Texarkana graduates who exemplify Idalee's ability to balance roles between family and community, and whose leadership results in a better Texarkana for all residents, said Ruth Ellen Whitt, executive director of Leadership Texarkana in October, when the award was presented — six months later than usual due to pandemic precautions.

Whitt said Young is an avid volunteer and leader with many local charitable organizations. She is also an active participant and leader within her profession, presiding over both local and statewide professional associations. Young recently earned her doctorate degree and serves as Dean of Liberal and Performing Arts & Honor College at Texarkana College and adviser to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Young is also a published author and has written a children's book based on her experiences teaching English as a second language in Japan and Germany for the U.S. Department of Defense Dependents Schools.

"Most notable of her accomplishments though, from those who know her best, is her passion, kindness and heart that drives all she does," Whitt said.

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