Leadership LA grads strengthen the community

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By Kirsten Laskey

Graduating from high school, college or any program is a major accomplishment but another challenge is just ahead. Graduates need to decide what to do with their newly acquired knowledge and what path to pursue from this point.

With the caps tossed in the air and the diplomas distributed, the Leadership Los Alamos 2010 class is now facing this challenge.

What they do as leaders in the community remains to be seen; however, through several LLA graduates’ comments, one thing is clear, they are working hard to prove that the 2010 class is the best LLA class yet.

Several LLA graduates commented on a few of the highlights of the entire program.

Dianne Marquez said the highlight for her was “hands-down, the people. Meeting people from all different parts of our Northern New Mexico community and making those connections has been fun, interesting, and informative,” she said. “In this I mean the class participants as well as our speakers and coordinators. We have a great class.”

Pauline Schneider said, “For me a highlight was interacting with such an inquisitive, thoughtful and dynamic group of peers on such a variety of subjects.”

“The most thought-provoking part of the class came when we discussed community development,” Bill Priedhorksy said. “It is clear that our community falls short of its potential. Ever since, I’ve been wondering how Los Alamos could build on its strengths - our hotbed of scientific excitement, our focus of outdoor adventures - to become the lovely mountain town that we can imagine.”  

James Hurley said, “The highlight for me was the last session, specifically, the last exercise where we gathered around in a circle and proceeded to recognize and acknowledge the positive attributes, characteristics and qualities of each member of the class, (which by the way, is the best ever.)”

“The highlight of leadership Los Alamos for me was the great opportunity to interact with a group of very caring and dedicated community leaders,” Scott Mills said. “The Leadership Los Alamos class of 2009-2010 is without exception, a group of people who quietly and selflessly dedicate themselves to serving our community. These are some of the most extraordinary people I know and I am very proud to now call them my friends.”

Barbara Judy said, “For me, it was simply meeting a lot of Los Alamos citizens. During the year, I started participating in a number of community meetings regarding the proposed Manhattan Project National Historic Site and the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Each meeting I attended brought me back together with people I met through LLA - it was great to have contacts and context for those events and made me feel much more like part of the community, not just a federal agency representative dropping in out of the blue.”

Steve Ciddio added, “I was impressed by the willing availability of key individuals (councilors, judges, administrators, politicians) in this town to come out and talk to us, listen to us. I’m sure that’s not a given in a larger town.”

So where do these graduates think LLA will take them?

Marquez said the program has inspired her to “continue to be engaged and out in the community.”

“As a result of this experience I am more conscious than ever of what it takes to keep a small retail business going in our county and I hope to do more to support those who are managing such enterprises,” Schneider said.

Priedhorksy commented, “Despite more than 30 years in Los Alamos, Leadership Los Alamos introduced me for the first time to a broad segment of our school, county and business leadership, to my pleasure. I am inspired to do more to contribute to the community and think that I would do best by building on my strengths. I will continue to help people live the outdoor dream, in the Los Alamos Mountaineers and on the ski hill, and to connect this outdoor community to the broader community.”

Hurley said, “I am now involved in the Kiwanis Club, I am more actively engaged in networking throughout the community and I am participating in the various community events scheduled throughout the year. In addition to the aforementioned, I am also evaluating what other organizations I want to become involved with.”

Ciddio said, “Just based on the variety of community involvement of our class members, I would say I want to continue to be part of that crowd and now I have contacts.”

“Over the course of the last several months, the program of Leadership Los Alamos has opened my eyes to many opportunities for service in our community (i.e. northern New Mexico),” Mills said. “Leadership Los Alamos has now challenged her newest graduates to seek out these opportunities for service and embrace the ones that have inspired us the most. Carpe diem!”