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Leadership program begins anew

Picayune’s Leadership Program has started anew, and its inaugural class of nine celebrated with a graduation ceremony Thursday.

The leadership program is meant to inspire growth in leaders and organizations in Pearl River County.

Originally the program was part of Partners for Pearl River County, but interest in the program dwindled and it had been three years since it was held.

In 2020, the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce restarted the program.

Participants attended one class per month for seven months, and were able to learn about local government, business, education, healthcare and economic development within this county. They also learned about who they are as leaders and how to lead different kinds of people.

Courtney Knight was in the last graduating class in 2018.

“You’re faced with so many opportunities to meet city and county officials and learn how to make a difference,” she said.

Reggie Hanberry was in the first class held in 2002 and 2003 and the experience was eye opening, giving him a deeper understanding of what takes place in the county.

The experience was also eye opening for Highland Community Hospital registration manager Ashleigh Torres, one of this year’s graduates from the revamped program.

“It’s pretty amazing to see all the things it takes to make a growing and thriving community,” she said.

Fellow graduate Wanda Worley said she learned a lot about how to get information out into the community to get more people involved.

Along with their lessons on leadership and community, the class completed projects that included researching ways to grow the local community and making suggestions for the next leadership class to build upon.

In her presentation, graduate Prophetess Williams said she researched local parks. After speaking with community leaders, Williams would like to see Snyder Park considered for BP funding. The park is a popular location for little league practice, especially for teams who may not be able to afford the fees at Friendship Park, she said.

Program graduate Elizabeth Treadaway put together a proposal for creating a digital resource guide to help inform people about community resources are available to them.

“Every community needs a leadership program,” said Guy Johnson, with Partners for Pearl River County.

Partners for Pearl River County is winding down, so they are donating the remaining funds they had for the original program, approximately $6,000, to support the new program, said Johnson.

The next leadership program will begin later in 2021 with a graduation in December. Applications have not opened up yet. Anyone interested in signing up for the program can contact the Chamber of Commerce.