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Duffy: Graduation season a time to look back – and forward

As the graduation season is upon us, we look ahead at what’s next for those graduating and what the next group replacing them will bring. Whether it’s looking at your next school and the challenges that the next level of education will bring or a start of a career with a new job to start you on your way for the rest of your life, it’s an exciting and anxious feeling.

We live in a community that will be celebrating a number of different types of graduation in the coming month. Northern Illinois University just completed its commencement ceremonies and Kishwaukee College will do the same this weekend. Not only do we have local high schools graduating but with the NIU Convocation Center hosting additional schools, we’re the center of high school graduations in the area.

Don’t forget middle school and even kindergarten graduations that will take place in the area during the next month. The DeKalb Leadership Academy will join these groups with its graduation June 14.

The DeKalb Leadership Academy is celebrating the 13th graduating class with an alumni base to exceed 270 spread throughout our community and many other communities at this point. The Leadership Academy has not only provided a program for developing leaders in our community, but also one that has implemented outstanding community projects that continue to make an impact.

This year’s class is no different and will present at the graduation ceremony exactly what they have accomplished. You’ve probably seen some information on the projects this class has taken on – All Spirit, Lawn Brigade and wheelchair-accessible gardens. Each will have a positive effect on you or people you know. This is just another reason to be #ProudlyDeKalb.

As this year’s class concludes, it will soon be time to begin accepting applications for the next class. If you would like to find out about the program or join the graduation celebration of the DeKalb Leadership Academy, call the Chamber at 815-756-6306 or visit

Upcoming events

May 24: TOMA Group meeting at Foster, Buick, Conklin, Lundgren & Tritt, 8:30 to 10 a.m.

May 29: Memorial Day Parade in downtown DeKalb and program at the Ellwood House, parade starts at 9 a.m., program at 9:30 a.m.

June 1: First Farmers Market at Van Buer Plaza, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the Live Lunch music series from noon to 1:30 p.m. Markets continue every Thursday through September.

June 14: DeKalb Leadership Academy graduation at the Red Roof Inn, 11:30 a.m.

June 15: Chamber After Hours at CMJ Technologies, 5 to 7 p.m.

June 16: DeKalb Chamber Golf Outing at River Heights, 11 a.m. registration, noon shotgun start

Be sure to keep checking our calendar to find out more about these events and what is coming up next at

• Matt Duffy is executive director of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.

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