The 2018-2019 Leadership Denison class was recently recognized by the Denison City Council.

Denison Mayor Janet Gott presented the class members to the council during the meeting.

“The whole purpose of this program is to create future leaders, in particular for our city,” Gott said.

The leadership class meets once a month from September to May to see different community leaders in action. The program started in 1984 and has evolved over the years. There were seven individuals in the class this year, with one who was a returning individual to make up some time missed last year.

Denison Chamber of Commerce President Diana Theall said the graduates met with different members of the community ranging from local, county and state government to schools and businesses.

“The goal is for people to go throughout the class to get passionate about being leaders in Denison,” Theall said, explaining the class is a good opportunity to learn about the city. “There are people who don’t know we have a food manufacturing plant here with Ruiz Foods. A lot of people don’t know about the grape industry.”

She said the graduates are normally presented their certificates of completion at the May council meeting, but this year the plan is to have a more formal graduation ceremony at the Chamber’s quarterly luncheon to take place May 15.

Theall said in addition to learning all about Denison businesses and local government entities, including the schools, the participants had what she called “state government day” in February where the class met with a member of the Texas legislature. She said they spent the last week in City Hall talking to the people who work for the city, learning what they do.

“We heard their strategies for leading a team,” Theall said. “Denison is blessed to have the leaders we have.”

The participants this year were Justin Eastwood, Brandi Burkhalter, Keri Little, Brad Little, Jimmy Moon, Jill Moore, Justin Harris and Jared Mitchel.

Theall said applications for the next year will go out in June, with the classes set to begin in September.