LAC graduates

Graduates of Leadership Aransas County Class XXIII are, seated, from left, Susie Sawyer, Jennifer Park, and Jennifer Pakebusch; back row, from left, Teresa Ott, Megan Glidden, Lisa Ruszczyk, Nick Basdekis, August Smith, and Class XXIII Director Dana Kisel.

Eight individuals in Leadership Aransas County (LAC) Class XXIII graduated Wednesday, July 22 during a special dinner and ceremony at the Key Allegro Yacht Club.

This year’s graduates are Nick Basdekis, Megan Glidden, Teresa Ott, Jennifer Pakebusch, Jennifer Park, Lisa Ruszczyk, Susie Sawyer, and August Smith.

The coursework began with an orientation in September 2019, and ended with a session about media and public speaking in June. The class met one day each month.

Other sessions included a ropes course, community planning and awareness, education and community collaboration, law enforcement, understanding the government we live in, economy and tourism, healthcare, and history and early happenings.

Class XXIII Director Dana Kisel opened the evening’s activities congratulating the class for its many accomplishments, including finishing its class project with one day to spare, in spite of all the challenges they faced due to COVID-19.

The class project is the new pavilion and barbecue pits at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Rockport.

Class Coordinator April Intorre challenged class members to take the time to look back, reflect, and see how much they have grown.

Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Diane Probst noted the LAC program has had a tremendous impact in the Rockport-Fulton area, through class projects, and attaining leadership positions.

Andrea Hattman, representing the LAC Alumni, said, “LAC was a big part of my journey, making me not afraid (to step out of my comfort zone).”

Hattman noted she was recently elected to the Rockport City Council, something she would not have attempted without her LAC experience.

Chamber Chairman Robert Mitchell said the LAC program helped put him on the path he is now traveling. He noted Class XXIII will be remembered for several firsts. It is the first class that had to wear masks, and it is the first class to have a son (August Smith) and father (Art, Class VII) as graduates of the program.

Teresa Ott was recognized for recording the most volunteer hours during the course of the program.

Kisel then turned the gavel over to Class XXIV Director Jennifer Pakebusch (a Class XXIII graduate).

“This past year has been educational, fun, and a little stressful,” said Pakebusch. “I can’t wait to guide the next class.”

The evening ended with class members receiving their certificates for completing the required coursework.

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