The 23rd graduating class of Leadership Northshore recently was honored at Pinewood Country Club in Slidell. The class of 2014 boasted 23 graduates from a variety of professional backgrounds.

Following an invocation by Natasha Woods, board of trustees Chairman Mark Myers gave the welcoming address and introduced sponsors, including Ochsner North Shore. Graduate Jackelyn Gallo was given the honor of reflecting on this year’s class accomplishments.

Mike Rich, from the class of 2004, was recognized as the outstanding alumnus of the year, and Myers received the Pearl Award, in honor of alumna Pearl Williams.

The Leadership Northshore personal and professional development course encourages leadership and also launches projects that have had a lasting impact on eastern St. Tammany. This year, the group introduced the Slidell Giving Garden, Team Pride, Bring it Home Northshore, Slidell Movie Nights and Team YEA.

Honored as this year’s graduates were: Bruce Anzalone, Carolyn Baringer, Tommy Benasco, Ann Bowser, Danny Blackburn, Jill Cahill, Chad Duffaut, Jennifer Franzo, Jackelyn Gallo, Lauren Gibson, Gina Guillory, Jean Hoover and Hardy Jackson. Also, Bobby Juge, Victoria Langlinais, Christina Blanchard Lowrance, Kevin O’Neill, Trey Paulsen, Joe Pepe, Charnetta Robinson, Debbie Schimmeck, Jonna Turner and Dale Woolridge.

STARC celebrates 40 years

STARC is a private nonprofit organization that derives its name from its commitment to providing a lifetime of services, training, advocacy, resources and community connections for individuals with developmental disabilities in St. Tammany Parish. The organization has expanded services to four surrounding parishes: Tangipahoa, Washington, St. Helena and Livingston.

This year, STARC is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and earlier this month, STARC held its annual staff appreciation event at First Baptist Church in Slidell. Staff and guests were encouraged to wear attire from their favorite sports teams, and the different departments within the agencies were grouped together throughout the auditorium.

Incoming board President Steve Duvernay opened the meeting and shared a quote that he once saw at the STARC offices in Slidell: “We are not here to make a living; we are here to make a difference.” The remaining speakers on the program echoed this sentiment as they honored and recognized those staff members and volunteers of the group for their outstanding service to the agency.

Recipient of the Good Samaritan Award was the Tulane Regional Primate Research Center. The Rose Award went to Laura Garrity, and the STARC Star Award was presented to Darren Bourgeois and the employees of the Whitney Hotel in New Orleans. Chris Riso and Sophisticated Woman Magazine were the recipients of the STARC Spirit Medal. The St. Tammany Parish School Board received the Wind Beneath STARC’s Wing Award.

In addition, the organization honored outstanding volunteers for their service to STARC, including the Northshore Kiwanis Club of Mandeville, Slidell Elks Auxiliary and the Knights of Columbus Post 2732. Second Miler awards are the highest awards given to a STARC staff member. This year’s recipients were Rita Barbazon, Marilyn Rizan and Meredith Wright.

Board officers for the group include Duvernay, as well as Don McKinney, vice president; Vic Lassalle, past vice president; Bill Davis, treasurer; and Shiela Gunderson, recording secretary.