Leadership McDuffie's 20th class left a lasting impression on the community. Members of the class planned and built a pergola next to one of the baseball fields at Pitt Street park.
"This ties in with what we've been doing in this community," Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry said at the dedication ceremony recently. "We're trying to restore this neighborhood. This is great... I'd like to plan a block party for this particular neighborhood. So, I say thank you to Leadership McDuffie and thanks to these kids who helped out."
Two neighborhood children, Davis Brown, 10, and Mikala Curry, 5, helped with the project. Mikala said she likes the pergola because "it makes it beautiful out here."
Davis said he enjoyed hammering.
"Building it was fun and it's awesome so we can get some shade," Davis said.
Both of the children were proud to bring their neighbors to the dedication ceremony, which was a pizza party sponsored by the Thomson Domino's. The children were disappointed to see that someone already had written on one of the benches with a marker.
There are benches all the way around the pergola and there's plenty of room inside to set up chairs. Surrounded by climbing roses donated by Dudley Nursery, it is conveniently located between the playground and the baseball field.
"Hopefully, this will provide some shade and enjoyment for parents so they can come out and enjoy their children's ballgames," said Tim McEnery, a class member.
The materials for the project were donated by class member Tony Amerson, who dedicated the pergola to his family members.
A plaque on the side reveals "Dedicated to the Amerson, Fluker, Smith and Walker families. Planned and built by Leadership McDuffie Class of 2009. Special thanks to Dudley Nursery."
"It was a great opportunity, a way for me to say thanks to my parents, grandparents and wife's family. They've always been in and around Thomson," Mr. Amerson said.