LOXLEY, Alabama — The Loxley Optimist Club held its 2019-20 Youth Appreciation Celebration on Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Loxley Civic Center, handing out awards to the area’s six public elementary schools, along with Central Baldwin Middle School and Robertsdale High School. Awards were also given to elementary, middle and high school students from Central Christian School.
Guest speaker for the event was Jay Stradley.
“I think my only credential for speaking to you today is the fact that I survived raising a teenager,” Stradley said. “From my experience, you already have many of the things you are going to need to succeed.”
Those things, he said, included a positive attitude; taking responsibility for your own actions; showing enthusiasm for activities, both at school and in the community; cooperating consistently with teachers, parents and other adults; being courteous; showing good manners; responding appropriately to correction; being honest and trustworthy; and displaying concern for others.
“These are qualities that you might not exhibit all the time,” he said, “but in order to be successful, they have to be exhibited consistently.”
Award recipients and presenters for the program were: Emmalee Lane, Central Baldwin Middle School, presented by Baldwin County School Board member Cecil Christenberry; Genesis Jones, presented by Loxley Fire Chief and Police Lt. Tony Lovell; Chelsea Hurtado, Central Christian School, elementary, presented by Cody Hitchcock with United Bank of Loxley; Lexy Escobar, Silverhill Elementary School, presented by Navy Counselor Petty Officer First Class Raheen Johnson and Navy Engineman Petty Officer First Class Juan Torres; Tyrainny Nava, Rosinton Elementary, presented by attorney Joseph Shaw; Isaac Randal Hall, Central Christian School, high school, presented by Baldwin County District Attorney Robert Wilters; Jesse West, Loxley Elementary School, presented by Baldwin County Judge of Probate Harry D’Olive; Jessica Parnell, Stapleton Elementary, presented by Baldwin County Circuit Judge Carmen E. Bosch; Emily DuBose, Robertsdale High School, presented by Baldwin County Commissioner Billie Jo Underwood (DuBose was unable to attend); Carlie Funchess, Central Christian School, middle, presented by Navy Counselor Petty Officer First Class Raheen Johnson and Navy Engineman Petty Officer First Class Juan Torres; Yamaria Gamble, Robertsdale Elementary, presented by State Farm Insurance Agent Ashleigh Mooney.
Optimist International, whose motto is a “Friend of Youth” presents annual Youth Appreciation awards to recognize youth for a variety of reasons, including their achievements at school, dedication to community service, improvement in their grades and doing their best in sports or the arts.
The Loxley Optimist Club was formed in 1980 and participates in a variety of activities including Optimist International’s annual Oratorical Contest and Essay Contest. The club also hosts a Fishing Rodeo for youth every May.
Club member John Chappell served as MC for the event. Opening and closing prayers were presented by the Rev. Jonas Brock, pastor of First Baptist, Loxley; Colors were presented by the Robertsdale High School Naval Junior ROTC colorguard with Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem presented by Cadet Brown; club member Cody Hitchcock recognized honored guests and closing remarks were made by Joey Shaw.
The event was sponsored by attorney Joseph Allan Shaw P.C., Covenant Elite Tours, Garcia Drywall, Baumhower’s, Dauphin’s, Wingfingers, the town of Loxley, State Farm Insurance, Loxley, Sweat Tire Co., Loxley Auto Parts, Loxley Discount Drugs, Mack Funeral Home, Piggly Wigley and Loxley United Methodist Church.