As the 2018-’19 class project, Leadership Tahlequah XXI is raising money to purchase supplies for dispersal throughout all Cherokee County schools.
Leadership Tahlequah, which this year includes 20 area residents, is designed to identify and empower current and future leaders from all segments of the community who will develop knowledge and experience and create a spirit of cooperation to address future challenges. Leadership Tahlequah strives to broaden participants’ experiences by acquainting them with processes, programs and problems within the community, according to the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce website.
This year’s class is made up of a wide array of community members, from many different backgrounds.
Diane Adamson, director of finance for Tahlequah Public Schools, said this is a special class.
“We share a collective spirit of service to our community,” she said. “The essence of our project is to deliver more than just a tangible item. We want to go one step further to listen to those who need help and to lend a helping hand.”
Northeastern Health System Residency Program Coordinator Bryn Smith said the project choice was made by a majority vote.
“That was not easy, since we wanted to help so many. I love that all schools within Cherokee County will benefit, and I hope we can raise funds to make an incredible impact to demonstrate we understand the needs of our school children and desire to meet those needs,” Smith said.
She added that he actions made by this class should spill over into the community and inspire others.
Rylee Ketcher, business development officer for Armstrong bank, said her decision to raise money for public schools came from talking with administrators after attending Public Schools Day with the Leadership group.
“It was apparent to me that there is a great need for supplies in our school system. I had no idea there are showering and laundry facilities available to the students at the schools, or that schools sometimes take on the responsibility of treating students for lice,” Ketcher said. “Our schools are taking on much more than an educational role in these students’ lives and meeting many needs beyond the classroom.”
Rian Cragar said that as a child, she attended county schools, where her mother taught.
“I have seen the need that we’re trying fill with this project. I’m proud to be able to equally serve both Tahlequah public schools and our rural schools across the county,” Cragar said.
The class will host several fundraisers and is currently selling “Truly [Insert word] Tahlequah to raise money for its goal.
“Our first shirt of possibly three that we’ll be printing is ‘Truly Festive Tahlequah,'” said Jami Murphy, public relations specialist for the city of Tahlequah. “We have plans for a spring shirt and hopefully summer shirt in addition to our other planned fundraisers.”
Those interested in donating can do so at the Chamber of Commerce. Donations can include items like school supplies, lice kits, new clothing, and personal hygiene products, as well as monetary donations. Monetary donations should be made out to TACC Leadership Class 21 in memo line. Donations can be dropped off at the Chamber, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The supply drive will run through June.
For more information on upcoming fundraisers and how to give back to the community through the Cherokee County schools, visit the class Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/leadershiptahlequah21/.
Leadership Tahlequah began in 1996, with the first class meeting for four sessions starting in September 1997. Today, the class meets from September through June for 10 sessions. Participants learn about current issues pertaining to local economy, government, social services, health, business and education that affect the residents and businesses that call Tahlequah home.