Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Graduation Day

Greg graduates
Lindsay laughs as I receive my diploma
In the midst of my hustle and bustle last week, our Leadership Ann Arbor class had its final gathering. On Wednesday, June 13, we graduated.

Unlike the rest of the year, when we ran from location to location throughout the area, this time we spent our time together in one place -- Zanzibar, a restaurant down on State Street in Ann Arbor. Terry McGinn, our facilitator from back when we first started this whole thing, was there again to help us review our experiences and synthesize a larger viewpoint from everything we'd learned. Some of the surprising things that we had discovered, individually or in groups:
  • The jail overcrowding situation and why we should be concerned.
  • The presence of the African American financial community and the events that it promotes.
  • The strain placed on law enforcement agencies due to those with mental health issues in the community.
  • The length of time it takes for anything to change despite Ann Arbor having a diverse and talented populace.
  • How many facets go into making Ann Arbor the city that it is -- and how the loss of any one of them would diminish the town more than you would think.
We spent some time in groups discussing possible changes for next year. While we did come up with a few suggestions, by and large we found that Lindsay McCarthy, our glorious and long-suffering leader, had really done an exceptional job with the program.

After a delicious lunch, we heard from Marianne Clauw, our classmate and an advisor to the BoardConnect program at the NEW Center. Now that we have seen a little more about how things work in this town, she wanted us to be aware of the opportunities for us to help one of the many organizations which help make this place a good place to live.

Then it was time for us to "walk the stage".

No, we didn't have a boombox playing "Pomp and Circumstance" over and over, just Lindsay calling out our names and us walking up to receive our certificates from Pat Davenport or Greg Bazick, the two co-Chairs for our class. Still it was a pretty significant time for us -- the capstone of nine months of shared discovery, education, and more than a few laughs.

What the future holds for our class is yet to be seen. We have had some movement toward working together on some sort of shared community service, but that is still in the planning phase. Until then, I guess school's out for summer. Time to sit back, relax, and maybe reflect on all I've gained from the experience.

So, what was your latest great achievement?

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