LONDONDERRY — It was the big kids' turn in the yellow school bus last Thursday, as participants from the Londonderry Leadership program toured the town before their graduation dinner.
After a one-year hiatus, the program that educates residents on the workings of the town and school district started up again with a class of eight.
"It was our smallest class to date," said Mark Oswald, who cofacilitates the program with Pollyann Winslow.
Since its inception in 2004, 92 residents have participated.
Curriculum topics include public safety, environmental issues, finance, school district, quality of life, master plan review, the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and Interstate 93 expansion issues. The class meets once a month, beginning in September.
"It's such a nice way to get people to know what's going on," Winslow said.
She said fellow Leadership Londonderry founder, Town Councilor Mark Oswald, has been a strong advocate for helping keep people in the know about the town.
"There's no pressure," Winslow said. "There is no obligation to run for town office once the program ends."
Participant Janet Cichocki, a retiree, said she has lived in town since 1976 and thought "it would be a good way to fill up time and maybe learn something new."
For the first time, the class had a student participate. Paul Curtin, a junior at Londonderry High School, wanted to learn more about the workings of the town.
Doreen Stubbs, the mother of two teenage girls, a Girl Scout leader, PTA officer and avid photographer, has been in town for eight years.
"I wanted to know more about the town," she said. "I can't complain about things if I don't know what's going on."
During the one-hour tour, Town Manager Dave Caron and Superintendent Nate Greenberg pointed out schools, recreation fields, the town's three fire stations and where the new one will be on Grenier Road.
Caron talked about future economic development in the northern part of town, pointing out existing large companies like Harvey and Penske. He pointed out Pettengill Road and the district near Exit 5 where future development is being planned.
The bus ended up back at The Coach Stop Restaurant, where the group had dinner together and received their certificates for completing Leadership Londonderry. Town Council Chairman Paul DiMarco gave comments during the ceremony.
Other graduates were Chip Sutton, Leitha Reilly, Bill Hanley and Londonderry High teachers Barbara Mee and Barbara Marzik.