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20 years of Leadership Wilson alumni gather (with video)

Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:18 PM

It’s a common inside joke among all Leadership Wilson classes – regardless of which class it is – every class is the best class ever. 

But on Wednesday, former Leadership Wilson director Lucy Lee removed any doubt as to which class was the best. 

“I would have to say it was that first class,” Lee said. “Were it not for them, this wouldn’t look the way it does today.”

The Leadership Wilson Alumni Luncheon featured members from all the classes Wednesday at the program celebrated its 20th anniversary. 

“It kind of surprised me it’s been 20 years,” Lee said. “Who would have thought they would have put a 16-year-old in charge of all this? How about a 26-year-old?

“For 20 years, not only have you learned a lot about Wilson County, but also consider all the relationships and friendships that were formed.”

Board chair Caleb Thorne greeted the group and introduced the other directors before Leadership Wilson director Dorie Mitchell welcomed members of the class of 2014 to describe projects currently in the works. As a requirement of Leadership Wilson, several community projects are completed with each class. In fact, it was a project from the class of 2013 that started the alumni luncheon. 

Projects currently under construction include Hands On Wilson County, an online database that matches volunteers with local organizations; Wilson Vision, which seeks to feed students after school and on the weekends; an anti-bullying video that features local students and others to bring awareness to the destructive nature of bullying in schools; What Would You Do? – which seeks to bring awareness to the dangers of sexting; and Jere’s Ride, a bicycle ride in honor of the late attorney and avid bicycle rider Jere McCullough to raise funds for Empower Me Day Camp. 

The featured speaker was Preston Jenkins, a Wilson Central graduate and member of the second Youth Leadership Wilson class. Jenkins, who is currently a civil engineering major at Tennessee Tech University, told the group about an upcoming mission trip to Memphis he will take, as well as some struggles he’s gone through since he graduated high school in 2008. 

“I started to think about me going to jail; I thought about me being saved from a car wreck, me being saved from suicide. It was because God was trying to communicate to me, ‘Preston, I want you. I love you. I have a purpose for you, and you’re just not living it out. Come to me.’ That day I surrendered my life to Christ, and everything has changed.”

Mitchell concluded the luncheon encouraging alumni to remain in touch through Leadership Wilson’s Facebook page. 

For more photos from the luncheon, click here

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