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February 2Members of this year's Leadership Toombs-Montgomery (LTM) class held their January meeting at Southeastern Tech’s Vidalia campus and were welcomed by STC President Dr. Cathy Mitchell.

{mosimage} LTM, now in its 18th year, is a program organized by the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce to give a comprehensive view of the region to current and future local leaders. The eight-month program has participants meet for monthly “learning sessions” at various locations to better understand the counties’ resources.

“We have been able to see the ins and outs of so many of our community organizations and businesses, and it has really opened my mind to the potential that Toombs and Montgomery counties have,” said Haley Fountain, LTM participant and site coordinator for 21st Century Community Learning Center, an after-school program at Toombs County Middle School.

Southeastern Tech’s partnership with LTM goes back to the program’s inception, as part of its education learning session. This year, the session included tours of several regional schools and education facilities.

“I tried to plan a day to expose the participants to educational options in the Toombs-Montgomery area,” said Gwen Warren, education chair for LTM and principal of J.R. Trippe Middle School. “Of course, STC is an important component of education in our community because it offers such a great variety of post-secondary education options right here at home.”

Participants were given full access to the school’s facilities and programs: LTM visitors sat in on several classes and spoke with a number of instructors.

“It was very interesting to hear the job placement rates, the rates at which the STC students pass licensure exams, and the salaries the students can earn when they finish their program,” said Warren.

LTM’s current class will graduate in March and history indicates they will likely take on prominent roles in the community.

“As of now, we have more than 250 graduates of the program who have shared the common experience of knowing how our community operates, its needs and challenges, its attributes and potential for the future,” said Debbie Evans, executive vice president of operations for the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce.

“These leaders are now involved in boards and organizations throughout the community, including local governments, school boards, charitable organizations and many more. This powerful network of informed leaders serves to make our community stronger and a great place to live and do business.”

“Growing up in Vidalia, I think I took what all STC has to offer for granted,” said Fountain. “I definitely feel that I now have a much deeper appreciation for what STC has to give to our community and surrounding communities.”