Class of 2017-18 finishes with a flourish

After eight months, more than 70 hours of class time, and untold hours working on their community projects, the 24 members of the Class of 2018 took the stage and presented the culmination of their hard work.

The graduation celebration on Wednesday, May 2, was the climax of the 2017-18 program. In front of family members, friends, mentors and fellow alumni, the class members presented short programs on their six community projects, finishing to applause and receiving plaques for completing the program. They also received copies of John Maxwell’s inspiring collection of daily leadership devotionals, “The Maxwell Reader.”

The highlight of the evening came at the very end: Maria Bond, communications director at Mt. Vernon schools, received the 2018 Stacia Alyea Excellence in Leadership Award. The honor was voted on by class members on the class’s last program day, March 7, and it was presented by last year’s winner, Laurene Lonnemann.

Laurene and Maria

Maria Bond (right) and the 2017 Alyea Award winner, Laurene Lonnemann, celebrate Maria’s honor.

Nearly 100 people attended the celebration, which was held for the first time at Bradley Hall in downtown Greenfield. With early-evening sunlight illuminating the stained-glass panels high in the ballroom — including one depicting Ned Bradley, a prominent leader in Greenfield in the late 19th century — the audience enjoyed a reception and dinner before the six project groups made their brief presentations.

The projects were notable this year because half of them originated with class members themselves. The class was tasked last fall with making suggestions for community projects, and a committee consisting of members of the LHC board sifted through a record number of submissions. All of the projects were rousing successes this year, but the three class-member sponsored ones felt extra special. (You can read more about the community projects by clicking on the “Class Projects” tab at the top of the page, then clicking on “2017-2018.”)

The master of ceremonies, LHC Board President Donnie Munden, announced at the end of the evening that enrollment is now open for the 2018-19 academic year. (You can access the application under the “Applications” tab at the top of this page.) The board’s Curriculum Committee already has met twice to consider changes to the program for the coming year, including revisions to introduce more leadership training in place of some of the traditional studies in county history, business/commerce and government. More information will be available soon.