The Lonoke County Leadership Training Program held its 2013 Graduation and Banquet on Thursday, May 2, at the England Fitness Center. The guest speaker was Jon Plafcan.

The purpose for which the Lonoke County Coalition for Progress is formed is to develop leaders for the Lonoke County area. The objectives are to promote and encourage leadership skills by conducting formal training programs for various target groups of potential future leaders and current leaders, both elected and volunteer; to build a network of informed leaders and individuals who will recognize the needs of all citizens of the area and work together to establish and accomplish goals to meet those needs; to disseminate knowledge, promote interest, encourage study and research in the leadership field and to act in an advisory capacity to any interested groups of persons or organizations.

There were 27 graduates from Lonoke County and two graduates from Jefferson County who started the class in January 2013 and attended seven sessions, including a trip to the Arkansas State Capitol sponsored by State Sen. Eddie Joe Williams. This year, the class had seven high school students.

Graduates from Austin were Michael Byrd, Charlette Moore, Therese O’Donnell and student Madison Probus.

Graduates from Cabot were Stacy Allen, Sheila DeArmond, Irene Ernst, Shirley Miller and Jason Reynolds.

Graduates from Carlisle were student Makenzie Bennett, student Jacob Jones, Bobbie Cotner, Corrie Edge, Tena Hauk, Leslee Parker and Daniel Sullivan.

Graduates from England were Nathan Cook, student Samantha Gates and student Jordan Moore.

Graduates from Lonoke were student Mason Moody, student Abigail Hickam, Denise Brown, Stacy Crain, Abigail Miller and Dan Stowers.

Graduates from Pine Bluff were Clinton Parker and Diana Wilkins.

The high school students had to write essays as part of their completion of the program. The essays were judged. First place went to Makenzie Bennett, who spoke to her essay at the graduation. Second place went to Jordan Moore. Third place went to Abigal Hickam.

Every year the class determines a project to pursue and raise funds. The project this year was for scholarships for the high school students and the essay winners. Fundraising appreciation awards were presented to Daniel Sullivan, Leslee Parker and Bobbie Cotner.

The Lonoke County Leadership Training Program is a volunteer organization. The seven sessions are organized and held by the LLCL Steering Committee: Shannon Hollis, chair; Jennifer Manis, secretary; Brandy Sullivan, reporter; Jim Bailey; Jack McNally; Tanya Pennington; Beth Plafcan. The LLCL Board of Directors are Leslie Martin, President; Chuck Graham, Vice President; Priscilla Campbell, Secretary; Barbara Merrick, Treasurer; Denisa Pennington, Past President; Trent Eilts; Jeff Welch; Jo Liatsos; Peggy Moody and Ginger Stuart.

Volunteer instructors for the sessions were

•Eddie Joe Williams, State Senator, 2007 Leadership Alumnus

•Jonathan Dismang, State Senator, 2012 Leadership Alumnus

•Walls McCrary, State Representative, 2008 Leadership Alumnus

•Joe Berry, Arkansas State University at Beebe

•Joey Dean, Metro Little Rock Alliance

•Sheila Harrelson, Central Arkansas Planning Development District, Workforce Investment Act

•Nancy Knighten, Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

•Delyce Palik, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lonoke County, 2007 Leadership Alumnus

•Bentley Wallace, Economic Development, Pulaski Technical College

•Jon Plafcan, LeadAR, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services

•Bill Ryker, Lonoke County Justice of the Peace, M & M Florist

•Matt Webber, District Governor for Lions of Arkansas District 7-N, U. S. Postal Service, 2010 Leadership Alumnus

•Jerry Shepard, Cabot Rotary Club ,Financial Advisor, Gadberry Financial Group, 2009 Leadership Alumnus

•Ginger Stuart, Attorney, Stuart Law Firm, P.A., 2009 Leadership Alumnus

•Herman Williams, Community Affairs Director at Arkansas Governor’s Office

•Tammy Tucker, Director, Cabot High School, 7th—12th Curriculum and Instruction

•John Twyford, Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center, University of Arkansas at Little Rock