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Partners in Leadership graduation ceremony

Partners for Pearl River County held a commencement ceremony for participants in the fifth annual Partners in Leadership class on Thursday.

The final session culminated in a graduation luncheon at the Hide-A-Way Lake Lodge. Participants of the 10 month long course were recognized with diplomas. Special recognitions were handed out to former class participants and special guests who were instrumental in making the course successful. A prayers was offered by Dr. Stanley Watson.

Former Picayune resident Patrick Scheuermann, Associate Director for John C. Stennis Space Center, served as keynote speaker for the event.

Scheuermann discussed the importance of having good communities to surround both Stennis and Michoud. This is crucial to the missions of the two NASA facilities. With Stennis reaching the 5,000 employee benchmark, the Space Center plays a vital economic role locally, he said.

He continued with advice for the graduates. He explained that everyone in life has a role to play, and although every person needs to feel that he or she is valuable, everyone needs to recognize the value and worth in the positions of others. He touched on what it means to be a role model in a community and how the graduates will start to find members of the community gravitating towards them. Leaders aren’t always able to make everyone happy, but should always look to do what is best for the community. He invited the room to look at the people sitting to each side and tell them “you are a leader”.

Scheuermann stayed to present the diplomas along with Glade Woods, Vice President of Partners for Pearl River County, and Dr. Patricia Knight, acting chairperson for the Leadership class. Knight was a participant in the first Leadership class of 2004.

Before the official ceremony began, the class of 2008 participants discussed the various resources available in our county that they were exposed to for the first time despite having lived in the county for many years. Several students agreed that they knew of the Arboretum and Stennis but had never been to either place. They expressed gratitude towards having the opportunity to explore these valuable county resources.

Round robin style, they also had the opportunity to speak out and talk about the other things that they will take away from the course. A lot of the class expressed their feelings on the great divide between Picayune and Poplarville and how they hope the two cities will be able to work together more efficiently for the good of the county in the future.

Over the past 10 months students were exposed to a variety topics such as economic development, law enforcement, health and social services, education and government as each relates to Pearl River County. The students were required to participate in a two day retreat at the start of the course, and then they met on a monthly basis.

The Leadership class is open to community members in any field. The next session begins July 31 and the deadline for applications is July 16. Tuition for the course is $300.

To learn more visit www.partners.ms, and click on the leadership link.