staff photo by rowena plett
The fellowship hall at Marion Presbyterian Church was festively decorated in royal blue to celebrate the graduation of the first Circles of Marion County leader class. An evening meal preceded a graduation ceremony in the church sanctuary, followed by cake and punch in the fellowship hall.
The fellowship hall at Marion Presbyterian Church was decorated in royal blue Thursday as graduates of the first Circles of Marion County leader class were joined by families and many other supporters for an evening meal and cake and punch.
Clusters of blue balloons, blue tablecloths with tableware to match, and a fireplace decorated with blue graduation caps and stars provided a festive atmosphere.
A graduation ceremony followed in the church sanctuary. Those receiving certificates were Tammy Britton, Alisha Bryant, Destiny Cash, Charlotte Coleman, Richard and Amy McVey, and Kimberly Pierce. Susan Carlson of Lincolnville made the presentations.
The class met once a week for 15 weeks. Britton said she was not excited about it at first, but as the weeks went by, the sessions became more meaningful. Bryant said it helped her know that people cared about her.
“I found I’m definitely a bigger person,” Cash said.
Coleman commented that she has more friends now. She said the class inspired her to get a job. She works at Carlsons’ Grocery in Marion. She said she was surprised to see how many people need food assistance.
The McVeys both said they learned a lot and had fun.
Pierce said she moved to Marion last year and felt like an outcast.
“Now I know people who don’t judge me,” she said.
Each of the graduates will have three or four allies who will keep in touch and provide companionship and support.
Facilitator Jeremiah Lange told them, “This is not the end for you. This is the beginning. You are leaders now.”
The series of classes was made possible by community volunteers who served on committees, provided childcare and food, and gave financial support.