Leadership Pratt graduates were honored at a ceremony May 8 at the Pratt Area 4-H Center. Guest speaker for the evening, Adrion Roberson, core teaching team member at the Kansas Leadership Center, was unable to attend so Jeanette Siemens, a long time associate of the Leadership program, stepped in and delivered the main speech.

They all learn something new every time. That was part of the message Jeanette Siemens gave to the Leadership Pratt graduation class of 2017-2018 at their graduation ceremony May 8 at the Pratt Area 4-H Center.

Those completing the class were Sarah Philbern, Julie Haas, Daniel Joyner, Brian Moore, Cassie Goyen, Scott Wilson, Krystal Adelhardt, Todd Hoffman, Kerry Von Schriltz, Anna Fischer and Casey Morelan.

Siemens message was fitting for a leadership class. The evening’s scheduled speaker, Adrion Roberson, core teaching team member at the Kansas Leadership Center, had a conflict and was unable to attend to Siemens took on a leadership role and gave the address to the class.

All the classes that have come through Leadership Pratt training have come away learning something new and meeting people they probably would never have met.

Leadership Pratt follows the ideals of the Kansas Leadership Center that came out of the Kansas Health Foundation.

One of the primary needs that started the leadership movement was Kansas needs more and new and different leadership. These leaders need community awareness and the competencies necessary to become good leaders. Helping people develop that awareness and those competencies is goal for the Kansas Leadership Center and for Leadership Pratt. Ed O’Malley, CEO Kansas Leadership Center, brought many ideas to the center and over the past 10-11 years the program has grown and the world has come to the Leadership Center, Siemens said.

The Leadership Pratt program has learned much from the Leadership Center. They have learned that anyone can be a leader and if someone is already in a leadership position, they can become a better leader.

Several former Leadership Pratt members shared their experiences when they were in the group. Gary Barker was in the first class and through the class, he got involved with the Kansas Agriculture Leadership Program and was also involved with the Leadership Board.

Siemens said participants in the program said it was good but wasn’t there something more. It was necessary to help the students develop more competencies.

Lisa Perez Miller said she got to know the community better and the entire class benefited from the experience.

“There’s truly something everyone can take away,”Miller said.

She said O’Malley was always striving to make the Leadership Center better. He looked for the leadership skills people need and he had a vision for the Pratt Community. Siemens said leadership is an activity and not a position. She referred to several key points that were displayed on banners at the ceremony. People need to engage the unusual voices. There are people that others don’t normally hear but once they hear those voices, it changes them forever.

Other elements to strive for include knowing what others say about you, hold onto the course because its easy to get side tracked, always speak from the heart and its risky to take on leadership. Leadership may not work out or it does work but the destination turned out differently than expected.

Former students Tracey Beverlin and Carol Stull were part of the class that developed a vacant lot downtown into Merchant Park. Along the way, there were many delays but after many months of work, the park became a reality and an example of how people can reach a goal but not the way they expected.