Immokalee Day once again provided a fitting grand finale to the 2016/17 Masters Class. On the bus trip to Immokalee, John Lawson, GNL Class XIX and Executive Director of 1 by 1 Leadership Foundation, gave the class a history of Immokalee, partly through John’s personal experiences since his first visit to Immokalee in the ‘60s.
The morning’s Immokalee Education and Family Services panel included Dawn Montecalvo, President of the Guadalupe Center, Mike Facundo, Facilities General Manager for Redlands Christian Migrants Association, Laura Rae Mendicino, Principal of Highlands Elementary School and Marisela Mendoza, a college student and a volunteer tutor at the Guadalupe Center Tutor Corps.
A bus tour of Immokalee featured presentations by longtime Immokalee resident Cherryle Thomas and Lisa Lefkow, Executive Vice President of Collier County Habitat for Humanity.
A panel on Immokalee Economic Development included Dorin Oxender, Director of Immokalee Technical College, Joe Paterno, Executive Director of the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, Sandra Kauanui, Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship at FGCU, and Jason Stoltzfus, Promise Zone Coordinator for Southwest Florida.
Lunch at the Immokalee Technical College allowed Class XXI to see the results of further education at work. Delicious food and great service was provided by students of the Culinary Department; one of 17 iTECH departments, which can boast of placing 88% of its students into jobs. Bernardo Barnhart, Immokalee-born, Vice-President of First1 Bank and President of the Immokalee Chamber of Commerce spoke to the class about the on-going commitment of Immokalee residents to their community. While many leave Immokalee to pursue their education in colleges and universities throughout the states, a growing majority return to their beloved community to help provide a bright future for the next generation.
A panel on Agricultural Business and Labor included Jaime Weisinger, Communications Director, Lipman Family Farms, Dr. Calvin Arnold, University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, Sister Maureen Kelleher, Attorney for the Legal Aid Service of Collier County, and Ron Mahan, CFO, Tamiami Citrus.
The day concluded with an artistic and energetic performance by the iCo dancers of Immokalee High School and the class experience of working alongside local students to pack 13,824 Meals of Hope.
Click below to watch a wonderful video created by 1 by 1 Leadership of their time spent together.