Exchange Club honors students

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 4, 2000

Staff Writer

May 3, 2000 10 PM

Pike Liberal Arts School seniors Andrew Reid Jones and Shauna Nicole Wheeler have been named the Troy Exchange Club’s 2000 Youth of the Year.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Each year, the civic club has the area high schools submit names of a male and female for the honor. The two winners are selected on school activities, community service, special achievements, awards and an essay they write for the competition. The essays were on the theme "Tomorrow’s Leaders Thundering Into Action."

Other area high school students nominated for the award were: Johnathan Catrett of Goshen High School, Taurus LeDavid Myhand of Pike County High School and Lauren Shae Stone and Brian Douglas Smith, both of Charles Henderson High School.

Dan Smith served on the committee which selected the Youth of the Year honorees.

He said the essays written by the six high school seniors were "very inspiring" and made the selection process difficult.

"There’s so much ahead of you," Smith told the students honored during the Exchange Club luncheon Thursday afternoon.

The two winners were each given $300 scholarships.

The son of Myron and Charlene Jones and has a 3.7 GPA. He won the Excellence in Leadership Award for 2000; was selected Pike County Farm City Male Youth of the Year; most improved football player in 1999; named to Who’s Who Among America’s High School Students; is a member of the National Honor Society and team captain for PLAS’s football team.

Jones’ essay was about his belief his generation can be the one to take "America to a much higher level. To be tomorrow’s leaders we should put our freedoms to their intended use. We must vote when given the chance, we must speak up for what is right at the appropriate time, and we must let God sit in the driver’s seat and let Him lead us."

He wrote America needs someone in high office who will invite God’s influence into each decision.

"I can guarantee that if we allow God to lead our leaders in the future, we will have no problem with America’s action having a little thunder behind it!" he wrote.

"How can one be a real leader if he or she does not take advantage of all the rights given to us Americans?"

Outlining rights, such as voting, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to bear arms and religion, Jones wrote that many Americans take these for granted.

"We will go nowhere if we continue to live up to that reputation and keep our country’s clock ticking away to a final destruction. How do we stop that from happening? We turn ourselves around and think of how to take our freedom and use it for the best."

Wheeler is the daughter of Gary and Lisa Wheeler. She has a 3.7 GPA at Pike Liberal Arts School. She has served as National Palomino Horse Breeders Association youth president, been the PHBA’s Reserve World Champion-Youth Western Pleasure, was a national nominee for the Wendy’s Heisman Award, made six all-tournament basketball teams and first team all-county, was selected for all-state basketball, named to the AISA Basketball All-Star team and is a member of the National Honor Society.

In her essay, Wheeler wrote about her generation’s need to develop a better work ethic.

"Fifty years ago, I would have spent my spare time working, no exceptions. After my duties were completed, I might have the chance to do the playing. Today, the young play first, and it their fun is interrupted, they will work to be able to play again. There is no respect for labor and effort. If it cannot be accomplished by using the Internet, it is not worth the struggle. We must push ourselves to the realization that life’s rewards should be given to those who work for it."

Another thing she touched on in her essay was winning and losing.

"It is not every time we fail that counts, but every time we rise again," Wheeler wrote. "The youth of America has to learn to win and lose gracefully. A true leader knows that in order to win the war, some of the battles must be forfeited to gain knowledge ans experience.

"We all must be defeated in order to appreciate our victories. This will not only make us harder to defend, but also harder to knock down. The tactic of class is the true character and personal motto of a leader," Wheeler wrote.

Brian Douglas Smith, who has a 3.9 GPA at CHHS, is the son of Linda and James Smith. He is a member of the National Honor Society; selected for the 1999 and 2000 Alabama All-State bands during which he received superior rating in the All-State Master Solo Competition; selected as a People to People Student Ambassador and will travel to Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France in June.

In his essay, Smith offered his thanks to family members who have supported him through his life. That encouragement and help, he wrote, will help him as he is "preparing to begin a new chapter" in his life.

Lauren Shae Stone, the daughter of Bill and Lynne Stone, has a 3.8 GPA at CHHS. She was named to the World Cheerleading Association National Champions Small Varsity Team; WCA Team America Finalist individual; State of Alabama 5A Division Cheer Winner Team; co-captain of the CHHS varsity cheerleading squad; elected sophomore Homecoming Queen attendant; A Honor Roll sophomore through senior years; member of the National Honor Society; Pike County Junior Miss first runner-up also won the physical fitness and poise and appearance preliminaries; selected to serve on the Teen Advisor Panel; participated in a week-long mission trip to Tecate, Mexico.

Catrett, who has a 3.57 GPA at Goshen High School, is the son of Elizabeth Lester. He recently received the PRAISE Scholarship from the Pike County Chamber of Commerce for having the highest AST score at Goshen; has the highest GPA among environmental science students; named to Who’s Who Among High School Students; All-American Scholar; received the Troy State University’s Chancellor Award this year.

In his essay, Catrett wrote about America’s "glorious" history. "Men, women and children have gone against unimaginable odds and triumphed over them. There have been times of war and strife for America where brave people have paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Now, in times of peace, the mantle of leadership is about to be passed to tomorrow’s leaders…the youth of today."

Myhand has a 3.6 GPA at PCHS. He is the son of Patricia Smith. His accomplishments include: JROTC Army Battalion Commander; SGA president; Most Valuable Player for the golf team for three years; highest GPA on the football team as a 10th grader; National Poetry Award; scholarship offers from four state schools; National Honor Society and Leadership Pike school representative.

His essay used a quote from Vince Lombardi ­ "The quality of life is in proportion to our committment to excellence" ­ to make a point. "His idea," he wrote, "shows the importance of dedication and committment to one’s goal if he or she aims to succeed. Tomorrow’s leaders must take up this torch that has been handed down from generation to generation. To reach our goals, we need to assert three leadership responsibilities or traits; make sound and timely decisions, know your followers and watch for their well-being, and be tactful and considerate."

All of those who were recognized received $50. The two winners will be invited to the Exchange Club’s meeting on May 11 to read their essays to members and guests.