FBLA members raise funds, lend support to injured student
The Charles Henderson High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) has nine goals and one of the standout goals is to encourage its members in the development of individual projects that contribute to the improvement of home, business and community.
Jennifer Sanders, CHHS commerce and information technology, said the FBLA members take that goal very seriously.
“Another goal the students take just as seriously is to develop character, prepare for useful citizenship and foster patriotism,” Sanders said. “To work towards reaching these two goals, the Charles Henderson High School FBLA chapter chose to serve the community by supporting a local family in need.”
The family chosen was the family of Jacquerean “Jay” Marshall.
Marshall, a member of the CHHS football team, was seriously injured when he was shot in the face in July. As a result of the injury, he lost his eyesight and is now enrolled at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega.
Throughout the school year, a few individual projects have been completed that will hopefully contribute to the improvement of home and community, Sanders said.
These projects include helping to plan and successfully carry out a community yard sale benefit, preparing a Christmas care box for Marshall and his family and hosting an “off to school” party for him.
For the yard sale benefit, 23 students worked a total of 96.5 hours.
“The sale would not have been such a success without these students,” Sanders said. “They planned their agenda before the drop-off days, then followed through by unloading, sorting and organizing donated items. They reorganized the donation site, displayed the items, assisted customers with loading their purchases and cleaned up and put everything back in place after the sale.”
Sanders said the items that didn’t sale were delivered to Marshall’s home.
“His mom paid it forward and found others in need of these items,” Sanders said. “I was amazed at the work the students put in the yard sale. All because they wanted to help it be huge success for Jay and his family.”
Sanders’ students said the opportunity to do something for Jay Marshall and his family gave them a different perspective on life and a greater appreciation for life.
“ This experience has opened my eyes in many ways,” said Stephon Moore, a senior football player. “Jay was more than just a classmate; he was like my brother. Starting summer football with my ‘bros’ was amazing. Little did we know a couple of us would never finish summer practice. Hearing that Jay got shot shocked me tremendously, I couldn’t believe it.
“Going through this experience made me realize that a lot of people don’t appreciate some of the stuff they have. Life is a gift and it can be changed at any time. Learn to appreciate the little things like being able to see or to hear, because I guarantee you, Jay would do anything to have those moments back.”
Susan Sapp, senior, said the experience had changed her life also.
“This experience has changed me into a better person. I was a part of something that changed someone’s life as well,” Sapp said. “I feel like I have the power to change the world. Volunteering for Jacquerean was the best thing I’ve ever done. Just being there, and around him, inspires me to continue helping out and giving back.”
The opportunity to give back has brought the CHHS students together as a community and a family.
“It’s great to know that we are a family at Charles Henderson,” said Alex Jackson, junior cheerleader. “Jacquerean is an outstanding individual and I am thankful for the opportunity to know people like him. I hope to gain the knowledge and joy he portrays in his everyday life.”
Marah-Katelin Davis, FBLA vice president, and Nick Lewis, a junior football player, said the experience brought them to the realization that one’s life can change unexpectedly at any time. They are now more appreciative and grateful for what they have.
Even students who did not know Marshall prior to the shooting benefited from participating in the fundraising and support efforts.
“Although I didn’t know him, it made me feel good to help him and his family out by helping with the yard sale,” said Lexi Sanders, FBLA historian. “ This experience has made me realize what I have and that I am very blessed.”
Sidney Armstrong, FBLA parliamentarian is blessed also by having participated in the FBLA projects for Marshall and his family.
“This experience changed the way I look at things now,” Armstrong said. “The way I live every day not knowing if anything like that is going to happen to me. I live everyday like it’s my last because, if I don’t, I may regret not doing something later. Although I never met Jay, donating things to help him made me feel really good.”
Maya Thomas, junior, summed the experience up in a few words.
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you are getting until you take a bite,” she said.
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