Loxley Optimist Club hands out Youth Appreciation awards for 2017

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 3/22/17

LOXLEY, Alabama — The Loxley Optimist Club held its 2016-17 Youth Appreciation Celebration on Tuesday, March 14 at the Loxley Civic Center, handing out awards to the area’s six public elementary …

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Loxley Optimist Club hands out Youth Appreciation awards for 2017

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LOXLEY, Alabama — The Loxley Optimist Club held its 2016-17 Youth Appreciation Celebration on Tuesday, March 14 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 and middle school students from St. Patrick’s Catholic School and Central Christian School.

Among those handing out awards was acting U.S. Attorney Steven Butler with the Southern District of Alabama, giving the award to Yuriko Takase, a Japanese exchange student at Robertsdale High School.

Guest speaker Baldwin County District Attorney Robert Wilters encouraged students to continue to do the right thing and set an example of leadership for other students.

During his time as a judge, Wilters said, he set up a drug court in Baldwin County with three simple rules, don’t lie, “and that also means always tell what needs to be told,” show up, “which also means show up for your friends when they need you to be there,” and don’t use, “which in the case of drug court means don’t use drugs, but it can also mean don’t use other people just to get what you want.

“These are simple rules, but they are rules that you can apply to everyday life. If you follow those rules, I promise you it will change your life and will make your life so much better.”

Other award recipients and presenters were: Michaela Loretta Sharp, Central Baldwin Middle School, presented by Judge Carmen E. Bosch, Baldwin County Circuit Court; Andrew McCully, Central Christan/Elementary, presented by the Rev. Brian Wade, pastor of the Loxley Church of God; Jadewyn Knapp, Central Christan/Middle, presented by Dennis Stastka, owner of Stastka Insurance; Kayla Booth (not pictured) of Elsanor Elementary, presented by Chief Tony Lovell with the Loxley Fire Department; Brian Piersall of Loxley Elementary, presented by Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey; Danielle Godwin of Robertsdale Elementary, presented by Monica Gramling of United Bank; Kaylee Lovoie (not pictured) of Rosinton Elementary, presented by Dewane Hayes of Sweat Tire; Austin Gontarski, St. Patrick’s/Elementary, presented by Robertsdale Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Kitchens, owner of Furniture City; Landon Purvis of St. Patrick’s/Middle, presented by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Devon Westbrook; Keagan Kucera, Silverhill Elementary, presented by Loxley Mayor Billy Middleton; and Pierce Hall, Stapleton Elementary, presented by the Rev. Wayne Ellis, pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church.

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.

Zack Carpenter is president for the club. Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack Jr. served as MC for the event. Opening prayer was presented by the Rev. Jim Batchelor, pastor of the Loxley United Methodist Church; presentation of Colors was presented by the Robertsdale High School Naval Jr. ROTC with Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem led by RHS student Blakeli Wallace; club member John Chappell recognized honored guests and closing remarks were made by Joey Shaw and Harry D’Olive. Benediction was presented by Ben Reece.