Leadership Class graduates members

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, May 16, 2018

By Oniska Blevins
The Selma Times-Journal

The adult Leadership Selma Dallas County Class XXIV graduated Tuesday night at the Wallace Community College, Hank Sanders Building.

Leadership Selma-Dallas County interim director and board member Callie Nelson said the purpose of the program is to help foster leaders to be effective in the community.

Employers and/or alumni of the program nominated the graduates for the leadership class. According to Nelson, Class XXIV’s dedication to service and the mission of the organization stood out and made them an exceptional class.

“This group was a genuine hard working [group],” Nelson said. “They really wanted to learn what it meant to be a good leader.”

The program usually graduates at least 20 people each year and this year, Class XXIV had 21 graduates.

Throughout the 10 months, the group met once a month to discuss different leadership strategies that would benefit the community. The class also traveled around to different local businesses and participated in diversity training.

“They were very active in all of the sessions and workshops,” Nelson said.

However, their biggest task was their service project. Each year, the group has to complete a service project within the community.

Their project, “Leadership Little Library” promotes literacy for children age levels kindergarten to sixth grade by adding small bookstands throughout the Orrville community.

“They are putting in those little libraries throughout the community so kids will be able to get books throughout the summer and read at no cost,” Nelson said.

Each year, the Harriet R. Bates Star and Rising Star awards are presented at graduation to acknowledge two students with exemplary leadership skills.
This year, the class voted to present the star award to Lynne A. Ray and the rising star award to Shawn M. Gray.

Nelson said Ray was always willing to help when needed no matter the task and Gray took initiative to take the lead on the community service project.

Not only did Ray and Gray receive the star and rising star awards, they will also serve a three-year term on the board of directors.

Fellow graduate, Ollie Davison, will join Ray and Gray on the board.

Ray said the graduation is bittersweet because she is happy to be done with the hard work.

“I’m excited for the opportunity that I’ve been given and the things we’ve learned, but I’m really sad to be leaving behind those friends I’ve spent so much time with, ” Ray said.

The group’s “Leadership Little Library” community project will be concluded this Saturday as they install a small library at Salem Elementary School.
Ray said she is excited to be able to finish strong with her class.