The 2017 Dubois County Leadership Academy concluded its seventh annual session with a graduation ceremony Thursday evening at the Center for Technology, Innovation and Manufacturing on the Vincennes University Jasper campus.
Since 2010, the leadership academy has invested in potential community leaders by providing training and guidance on community involvement.
As part of the academy, the students are formed into teams. As a team, the students are charged with completing capstone project that benefits the communities of Dubois County. Through the process of completing the project, the students learn about civic engagement, fundraising, planning and community building.
There were two teams in the 2017 leadership academy. Those two five-member teams presented their Capstone Projects to an audience of their peers, sponsors and leadership academy board members as part of the graduation Thursday evening.
The DC Five team, consisting of Ansley Jenkins, Emily Peak, Janessa Wolf, Mary Champion and Tyson Bredemeier, provided an in-depth look into their project; a take-off of the Little Free Library model. Units have been installed or will be installed soon in Dubois County communities without direct access to a library.
Team members went through the process of implementing their idea from concept, design and construction of the libraries. They then worked with community leaders in Haysville, Celestine and St. Anthony to determine the location of the libraries while securing the necessary funding to finalize the project. They also donated books to seed the new little libraries when they are in place.
Team Ambiguous Quintet team members included Tammy Sermersheim, Brett Pund, Emily Fuhs, Eber Menjivar and Jayme Lindauer. They purchased and installed a musical park at 18th Street Park in Ferdinand.
During their presentation, the team described the brainstorming process of fulfilling an untapped need which benefits young people and adults. Fundraising efforts, which are still ongoing but they received a major boost with a $7,500 grant from the Dubois County Community Foundation.
The group hopes to have equipment ordered and ready to assemble by year’s end.
Following the Capstone Projects, board members presented graduates with engraved crystal plaques to acknowledge their hard work and participation in the Academy.
The academy organizers thanked the following companies for allowing their employees to participate: German American, Indiana Furniture, Kimball Electronics, Springs Valley Bank & Trust, along with Vincennes University Jasper campus, the City of Jasper’s Art Center and Rec Department and City of Huntingburg’s Park Department.