Sunday, April 25, 2010


Tennessee Express News Writer
- Last week the Houston County Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Academic Awards Banquet at Houston County High School.
- Honorees were the top ten students, academically, for each grade level, and they were allowed to invite up to three guests, including family and friends.
- The menu consisted of mouth-watering barbecue, baked beans, potato salad, slaw, desserts, and sweet tea.
- After dinner, Houston County High School Principal Linda Jolly welcomed everyone to the event, causing some confusion when she stated the “2008” awards banquet.
- Then the Houston County High School band, under the direction of Matt Whitt, performed a difficult piece entitled “Resting in the Peace of His Hands.”
- The Rev. Jeff Stark, pastor of Erin Church of the Nazarene, then gave the invocation before Houston County Chamber of Commerce president Lori Pendergrass introduced the speaker.
- You may remember that last year's speaker was TV personality (& trafficologist with Channel Five News) David Nichols. Nichols is a 1971 graduate of HCHS.
- Well, this year's guest speaker was a 1972 graduate, Shela Madden Williams. She said she grew up on Rocky Hollow in Erin, just down the road from Nichols.
- Vice-President of Sales & Marketing and Public Relations, Williams has been with Farmers & Merchants Bank since 1989. She started her career in banking as a part-timer working on the mail desk at Union Planters, moved to Northern Bank of Tennessee, and then to F&M.
- “I have loved every minute of it,” she said of her career, “and I continue to learn.”
- Williams challenged the honorees to do the same. She also read a cute little book that included lots of wise advice to students in high school and college.
- Next, HCHS Principal Linda Jolly, with the assistance of Houston County Schools Director Cathy Harvey and Pendergrass, recognized the following students with certificates:
* FRESHMEN: Alyssa Arnold, Logan Baggett, Erica Brotherton, Logan Callis, Kayla Clark, Alexander Coleman, Charlene Day, Zach Deason, Macy Dennis, Tera Dillard, Hunter Fussell, Kaci Hall, Kayla Beth Harvey, Kelsey Hill, Arianna Nance, Mason Nolen, Kaylee Sawyer, Robert Scoggin, Samantha Self, and Beth Turner.
* SOPHOMORES: Kaitlyn Boggs, Justin Cockrell, Mitchell Manners, Jill Mitchell, Kelli Parker, Riley Pitts, Quinton Roby, Sean John-Robert Settle, Sarah Thibault, and Taylor Wright.
* JUNIORS: Piper Abdeh, Kelsi Clark, Mariana Hagler, Allison Parker, Will Pryor, Clarissa Pulley, Chelsea Spurgeon, Brooke Torres, Cale Wilson, and Lindsey Wyatt.
* SENIORS: Cortez Almendarez, Brittany Boone, Jamie Brake, Zach Cleghern, Elyse Collard, Jesse Colston, Amy Mitchum, Hope Perrigo, Ashly Roby, and Erin Williams;
- Several of the top ten of each class also received awards for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.
- Finally, on behalf of the Erin Rotary Club, Allen McCampbell stepped up to present the Tennessee Scholars awards. He talked about how some students took the “road less travelled” including a course of study approved by the state department of education, while maintaining a 95 percent attendance rate, and contributing 40 hours of community service.
- The five Tennessee Scholars, who each received a medallion and will have a special seal on their diploma, included: Jamie Brake, Elyse Collard, Jesse Colston, Hope Perrigo, and Erin Williams.
- Harvey gave closing remarks thanking the students for their hard work, along with the parents, grandparents, and other relatives, for their support. She also thanked the faculty and staff.
- Many accolades went to Chamber members Bettye McKinnon and Sharon McLeod for organizing the event.
- Other sponsors included Traditions Bank, A.E. Reynolds Insurance Agency, Bennetta James, Fred and Nina Finley, Byde Simpson, the Houston County Historical Society, Cleghern’s Grocery, and the Houston County Lions Club.
- Patrons included: Allen and Suzanna McCampbell, Bennetta James, Byde Simpson, the City of Erin, Fred & Nina Finley, the Houston County Historical Society, Temple-Inland, Traditions First Bank, and A.E. Reynolds Insurance.
- Patrons included: Dewain & Joyce Pryor, JV Averitt Lumber Co., Margaret Simpson, and Mitchum Drug Co.
* Friends included: Barbara Alsobrooks, Bob and Bettye McKinnon, Donna Underwood, Kerry Powell Construction Co., Kevin and Melinda Conwell, Polly Fussell Miller, and Price Florist.

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