Leadership Selma class ‘X’ graduates

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Last night, 20 civic-minded community and business leaders graduated from Leadership Selma-Dallas County, armed with a new sense of what makes the city and county work.

Leadership Selma-Dallas County has been a part of the Black Belt for 11 years, and has helped educate leaders in all fields on how to work within the community and make things better.

“It all gets back to networking,” Fran Pearce, a charter member and standing Board of Director member. “It’s a great program.”

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Now the course is celebrating its 10th – class ‘X’ -I graduating class, with members from every area of the community.

Johnnie Melton, head of the Food Stamp program at the Dallas County DHR, felt the class was very rewarding.

“Nobody regrets it,” she said. “It’s a good thing to learn about the city and have fun.”

Melton was also captain of the Leadership Relay for Life team. Each class takes on a project each year. This year the class raised more than $1,000 for the American Cancer Society and walked away with the Most Spirited Team Award.

The class takes place over nine months. It begins with a mandatory retreat in Shelby County. After the retreat, the class meets the second Thursday of every month. During the course of a year, the class travels to different businesses and community organizations. This year, the class toured The Selma Times-Journal, Madden & Associates and The Methodist Children’s Home, among others.

“It’s very interactive (and) didactic,” Carolyn Powell, director of Leadership.

The goal of the organization is simple. Leadership is designed to bring the community together and move the area forward.

“After they (class members) come through this program, they’ll continue to devote their time in the community,” Powell said.

That’s one of the reasons Mike Galloway; the new director of the Methodist Children’s Home and newcomer to Selma joined the class.

“It really fit my particular needs,” Galloway said. “I was looking for a way to get to know the Selma area.”

Hopefully, after they graduate, Powell said, the members will continue to look for ways to serve the community.

Henry Hicks Sr., code enforcement officer for the city of Selma, was hoping to take his experience to a new level.

“It was an opportunity for me to learn more about Selma,” Hicks said. “Maybe one day I’ll be a leader for the city.”

Hicks wouldn’t be alone. Mayor James Perkins was in the first Leadership Selma-Dallas County class.

And that’s exactly what Powell says is the goal of Leadership Selma.

“When (they’re) called upon to serve the community,” Powell said, “Step up.”