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Members of the Gwinnett 101 Citizens Academy spring 2019 class pose for a photo with county commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash during a recognition at the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners’ June 25 public hearing meeting. The class graduated from the program during a ceremony held immediately before the commission meeting.

The Gwinnett 101 Citizens Academy’s Spring 2019 class recently celebrated weeks of learning how the county government works, from how budgets are put together to how firefighters battles blazes.

Thirty-one people participated in the Spring 2019 class and they completed the program with a graduation ceremony, followed by a recognition at the Board of Commissioners public hearing meeting, June 25.

“What can I say?” class spokeswoman Rochelle Hall said during the presentation at the commission meeting. “It’s been an incredible 12 weeks. We got to do tours at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, the police academy (and) the fire academy. It’s just been amazing.”

During the time that they were in the program, the class members toured the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center and the Gwinnett Department of Transportation’s Traffic Control Center, received a “crash course” in the county’s budget and finance, participated in a Live Healthy Gwinnett presentation at E.E. Robinson Park and learned about the Gwinnett judicial circuit in addition to the visited to the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center and police and fire academies.

“For those of us who have been involved a long time with Gwinnett County government and the community, its a great chance to see things afresh through people who are seeing it for the first time,” Gwinnett Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash told the graduates.

“I get enthusiastic again about all of the great things that are going on in Gwinnett when I hear from members of the class.”

In addition to Hall, class members included Alex Bastian, Audrey Bell-Kearney, Teresa Blair, Varessa Butts, Dr. Benjamin Cooper, Latrece Deloach, Marina Fishman, Julius Harris, LaVerne Henderson, Gary Johnson, Elisha Kim, Maureen Kornowa, Curtis LeBlanc, Zain Lilani, Sherri Livingstone, Charles McDaniel, Logan McKinzie, Valerie Mills, Traci Moultrie, Ravi Ponangi, Shoukat Qari, Sidra Safri, David Sills, Cha’Lea Stafford, Tonya Stokes, Reggie Thomas, Jessica Thomas, Curt Thompson, Carissa Villa and Kim Weeks.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta. I eventually wandered away from home and attended the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, Miss., where I first tried my hand at majoring in film for a couple of years. And then political sc