Leadership Ascension graduates 16th class

Staff reports
Shown from left back row: Dana Scott, Paul Claxton, Wes Ashworth III, Jay Patel, R. J. Guillot, Mary Skinner, Polly Whitfield, Cathy Waggenspack-Landry, Alvin Broussard, Cheryl Rice, Joan Shivers, Dean Werner, Jake Ragusa, Jacob Huddleston, Sherrie Denig, Dawn Zitman, Dannette Duplessis, Tracey Normand; front: Ali DeBosier, Caroline Conerly, Candy Sheets, Marian Walsworth, Meghann Hebert Morin, Kelly Swarm, Kassie St. Pierre and Denise Smith.

Leadership Ascension, a program of the Ascension Chamber of Commerce, was proud to graduate its 16th Leadership Class at  Parc 73 on June 16.

There were 30 participants in this year’s Leadership Class and each were put into teams with the task of researching and implementing a project that would positively affect the community. This year’s projects included a Fire Safe House for Ascension Parish, fundraising efforts in support of Project Kidz Kove universal playground and the creation of an Early Learning Fundamentals Program to benefit young children in the Donaldsonville area.

The Ascension Fire House Team took a house belonging to the parish that was previously used for office space and transformed it into a comfortable housing unit to be used as a temporary home for families affected by local fire catastrophes. Another team, the Wave Runnerz, partnered with Project Kidz Kove Discovery Park, a universally accessible play space to be built in central Gonzales. This team raised over $30,000 to aid in the construction of the park and the purchase of specialized playground equipment.  The third team, the ELF (Early Learning is Fundamental) Team partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to bring books into the homes Early Head Start and Head Start children in Donaldsonville.

All projects will undoubtedly benefit the Parish for years to come, but the team implementing the Ascension Fire House was chosen as this year’s winner.

Winning team members included: Steven Allain, Alvin Broussard, Patty Coats, Caroline Conerly, Sherry Denig, R.J. Guillot, Meghann Hebert Morin, Tracey Normand, Jay Patel, Jake Ragusa, Cheryl Rice, Candy Sheets, Joan Shivers, Kassie St. Pierre, Kelly Swarm, Marian Walsworth, and Polly Whitfield.

In addition to benefitting the community, the Leadership Ascension Program has a positive impact on those who participate. This year’s participants included: Wes Ashworth III, T. Baker Smith, Inc.; Steven Allain, Cox Communications; Alvin Broussard, City of Gonzales; Paul Claxton, Cabela’s; Patty Coats, Hampton Inn Hotel; Caroline Conerly, St. Elizabeth Hospital; Ali DeBosier, Domain Design Architecture; Sherry Denig, Volunteer Ascension; Dannette Duplessis, United Community Bank; R.J. Guillot, FMOL Health System; Jacob Huddleston, Regions Bank; Tommy Joyce, Tommy’s Printing & Promotional; Meghann Hebert Morin, EATEL; Chief Tracey Normand, City of Gonzales Fire Department; Jay Patel, Hampton Inn; Jake Ragusa, Ascension Parish School Board; Cheryl Rice, Community Opportunities of East Ascension; Dana Scott, BASF; Candy Sheets, Sno’s Restaurant; Joan Shivers, Ascension Parish Government; Mary Skinner, Parc 73; Denise Smith, Decorating Den Interiors; Kassie St. Pierre, Ascension Chamber of Commerce; Kelly Swarm, InfiniEDGE; Cathy Waggenspack-Landry, Re/Max First; Marian Walsworth, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center; Dean Werner, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office; Polly Whitfield, Waguepack & Associates; Sarah Zeringue, BASF and Dr. Dawn Zitman, St. Elizabeth Physicians.

Leadership Ascension started in 1996 with the mission of preparing emerging community leaders for leadership positions in local government and business. The 10-month program accepts students by application only and offers team-building and educational sessions covering topics such as Economic Development, Healthcare and Cultural Diversity.

To apply for the class or learn more about Leadership Ascension, visit www.ascensionchamber.com or call 225-647-7487.