Every year, each Leadership Blount Class declares they are the best class ever.
Outgoing Leadership Blount executive director Cathy Cate doesn’t get into making those distinctions, but she was quick to say that the Class of 2010 had a chemistry that made them different.
“Because it was my last class I was able to really enjoy more the different personalities and definitely see how this program brings those personalities together to become a stronger group,” she said.
Cate said in the past she has always had to begin planning for the next year and think about the next class. “While working to help Katherine with her first class, I was able to sit back and enjoy this class, and I’m thankful this is the group I’m going out with,” Cate says.
Cate said the Class of 2010 class celebrated and mourned together.
“We had two pregnancies and a birth in the class and two marriages and the class got to celebrate all those happy events. Then, in the last month of class, Laura Rules’ son was killed in a car crash. Through good times and ultimately a tragic time, this group pulled together,” she said. “They put aside differences and rallied around Laura and her family and that makes a huge difference in how they will continue as a group for many years.”
Cate said it is always fun to see a class graduate. “This class obviously had a great time and took learning from the year and shared that with everyone,” she said.
Teri Brahams, the Leadership Blount chair, said the May 20 graduation at Smithview Pavilion went well. “Anytime we graduate a group as enthusiastic and engaged as that one, it is a good thing for the community and Leadership Blount,” she said.
Adriel McCord, the 2010-11 Leadership Blount chair, said he appreciated hearing how the group came together so quickly on their Legacy project at the beginning of their class.
The group created a Wonder Trail at Springbrook Park in Alcoa as their project and increased class awareness on obesity by challenging everyone in the class to eat healthy and exercise. The signage for their project was paid for by the class.
“That project will benefit a lot of kids and parents who are taking their kids around Springbrook,” said McCord.
Cate said the class turned their passion into a project that can be seen and used by many in Blount County. “They took the legacy project to heart and created a lasting legacy that Blount County will see for many, many years,” she said.
Deborah Whaley was one of the class gatekeepers and said Leadership Blount will help her be a better realtor because she can explain to clients what goes on behind many of the industry and business doors her class was able to tour. “I can explain to people what happens behind the doors at Denso, Alcoa, the airport,” she said. “I never had that opportunity.”
Jewell Overton said Leadership Blount draws people of different backgrounds together. “You come together as one to accomplish a common goal of making the community better,” she said.
Aaron Killian said Leadership Blount changed his life. “I went into this a year ago not know what I was getting into, and it has simply made my life better,” he said.
Leah Flynn said the program is an opportunity for people to serve. “It teaches those who are ‘doers’ about every opportunity to serve,” she said.