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Local students win state Exchange Club awards

Two Pike County youths were honored at the Alabama District Exchange Club’s Annual Convention at Lake Guntersville State Park May 31 and June 1.

Amber Shirley of Brundidge received the Exchange Club’s President’s Award and Drake Adams, also of Brundidge, was the recipient of the state ACE Award.

Billy and Donna McLaney-Jones represented the Troy Exchange Club at the state meeting at the Alabama State Park in North Alabama.

“We are extremely proud of Amber and Drake,” Donna McLaney-Jones said. “They are outstanding young people and they represented our club extremely well. It was an honor for us to be there to congratulate them on their prestigious recognitions.”

Jones said Shirley received the President’s Award for exceptional leadership in the Exchange organization.

“Amber leads by example,” Jones said. “She is an outstanding young woman in every way. She is currently a student at Huntingdon College where she is pursuing a degree in biochemistry to prepare for medical school.”

Shirley’s career goal is to practice family medicine in a rural area of her home state.

Drake Adams received the Alabama District A.C.E. Award.

“A.C.E. stands for Accepting the Challenge of Excellence,” Jones said.  “The A.C.E. Award recognizes high school students that have made a dramatic change in their attitude and performance in high school. Drake had an injury that he could have viewed as an obstacle but he accepted it as a challenge. He overcame any obstacles in his path. He graduated from Pike Liberal Arts School this year and has plans to attend Troy University.”

As a state winner, Adams’ application will be sent to be judged on the Exchange Club’s national level.

“The state winners have an opportunity to win scholarships up to $15,000,” Jones said. “We congratulate Amber and Drake. They both represented the Troy Exchange Club and all Pike County extremely well.”

Donny McLaney-Jones has served the Troy Exchange Club as its president and has also served as the Alabama District Club president.

Jones is perhaps the club’s most dedicated salesperson. She is always atop the Vidalia onion sales chart. She delivered onions to fellow Exchange members at Lake Guntersville State Park.

“I have friends from Mobile to Huntsville that love Vidalia onions and I deliver,” Jones said, laughing.

The Rev. Ed Shirley, pastor of Brundidge United Methodist Church, entertained Friday at the Alabama District Exchange Club’s Annual Convention.