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Jenny Bulley laughs at the banquet. - photo by Emily Saunders
A group of high school juniors graduated Tuesday night from a skills-building leadership program that gave them a thorough look at their community.

Members of the Youth Leadership Forsyth Class of 2009 received congratulations from their parents and local business and community leaders.

Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman presented plaques to the students, some of whom spoke during the reception at Windermere Golf Club.

Austin Redd of Forsyth Central High School talked to the more than 100 in attendance about the students’ tours of hospitals, fire stations, parks and businesses.

“All of it benefited me greatly because I got to see the power of community in businesses and how the government of our county works,” Redd said.

Several members of the Forsyth County school system and local YMCA also spoke, congratulating graduates for finishing the six-month course.

Vicky Clair, the administrative director of Leadership Forsyth, said she was happy with the graduation.

“The kids had a good time,” Clair said. “We had a good turnout of people and parents.”

Established in 2000, the course brings together students from public, private and home schools to shape shape lifelong leadership skills, service learning and community understanding.

It includes four half-day and two full-day sessions, as well as an orientation and evening retreat.

Sessions begin in September and run through March. Officials will begin recruiting the next class in August.

Clair said about half of Tuesday’s graduates will help mentor the next group. “They’re anxious to help out.”

For more information about Youth Leadership Forsyth, visit www.leadershipforsyth.org.

E-mail Frank Reddy at frankreddy@forsythnews.com.