The graduates in the 2018 class of the Guilford County Citizens’ Academy were honored by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in a graduation ceremony that kicked off the board’s Thursday, Nov. 15 meeting. For years, Guilford County has offered the 10-week classes in which people learn the inner workings of the county’s government.

Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion leads and oversees the Citizens’ Academy with help from Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller. During the 10 weeks, the class heard from department heads, debated the county’s priorities as if they were commissioners and even adopted a mock county budget to learn what that process is like.

At the Nov. 15 ceremony, graduate Elma Hairston spoke very eloquently about her experience. She said the academy had been “enlightening, enchanting and excellent.” She said it was enlightening because of all the information, enchanting due to the “southern hospitality” from Cashion and Keller and excellent because of the very well thought out presentations from county staff.

Harriston said the budget session gave the class “hands-on exposure” and insight into county decisions that had to be made with limited funds.

“Commissioners, I don’t envy your work,” she told the board.

At one recent academy class, Guilford County Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Alan Branson addressed the group and explained how difficult many of the board’s decisions were.

Thomas Sinclair, a retired Air Force officer, said he got a great deal out of the classes.

“I absolutely loved it,” he said.

Sinclair said he was fascinated to learn about the interactions of the county with the cities it contains and with state government.

Those interested in attending the Citizen’s Academy in the future should contact the Guilford County Clerk to the Board’s office.