Leadership 2008 class graduates

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — Jubilant chatter filled Dunleith Plantation on Thursday during Leadership Natchez’s graduation ceremony and luncheon, marking the end of the class of 2008’s nine-month curriculum of tours, speeches and civic activities.

Graduate Charlie Speed, president of Regions Bank, unveiled the class project — the construction of three to four pavilions at Duncan Park. Ralph Tedder, director of the Natchez Recreation Department, presented the idea to the class.

“We wanted to pick a project that would touch the most people,” Speed said. “We have agreed to accept (Tedder’s) challenge.”

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Speed said the pavilions are in high demand as the summer looms. The pavilions — measuring 20 feet wide by 40 feet high — will be placed throughout the park area. After meeting with engineers to discuss construction, the class thought it would be best to use building kits.

Speed said city officials have agreed to put up the pavilions while county officials have agreed to lay the foundation.

“We’ve got continuity — people coming together to take on a project,” Speed said.

The class is now entering the fundraising phase of the project, which will cost $20,000 to $25,000.

“We have raised around $3,000. We’re very confident that we’ll come up with the money. We’ll be knocking on some of your doors,” Speed said.

Graduate Debbie Hudson, president of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce, expressed her gratitude to employers for supporting the program. Without their support, Hudson said, Leadership Natchez would not be possible.

“The class was great and I enjoyed the people most of all,” she said. “I’m very proud Leadership Natchez is part of the Chamber of Commerce.”

Graduate Marcus Sullivan of United Mississippi Bank said there’s a lot of work to be done.

“There’s a long road ahead of us,” he said. “We’re going to raise money for the project and we look forward to working with next year’s class.”

The class included: Angela Bland, Britton & Koontz Bank; Amy Campbell, Natchez Regional Medical Center; Michael Cates, Paul Green and Associates; Cullen Foley, Concordia Bank and Trust; Lynda Hall, Natchez Community Hospital; Hudson; Brandi Lewis, Britton & Koontz Bank; Sturleen Morris, Natchez-Adams County School District; Speed; Sullivan; and Angela Yates, Natchez Regional Medical Center