PCHS’ Thomas looks into teaching
Editor’s Note: Franklin’s Future is a regular feature spotlighting a high school senior in Franklin County and what they have planned for life after graduation.
High school senior Autumn Thomas, 18, hasn’t always been a Phil Campbell Bobcat, but she’s made the most out of her time there since she transferred to the school after the ninth grade.
Thomas, who attended East Franklin Junior High School before transferring to PCHS, said she thought it was good to be involved in high school organizations because you could make more friends – something any new student hopes to do.
“We had several people from our class at East Franklin who also transferred to Phil Campbell, but there was still this big group of people that I didn’t know and that was scary at first,” Thomas said.
“Getting involved in sports and different clubs helped me meet a variety of people who ended up becoming my friends and just welcomed me in.
“It was also good practice for college. I won’t know anyone when I go off to college and getting involved and learning how to meet new people and interact with them was good experience for when I have to do that all over again in the fall.”
While in high school, Thomas has been involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, P Club, Junior Civitan, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Jobs for Alabama Graduates, Stand in Silence, Scholar’s Bowl and the cheerleading squad.
“My advice to any high school student would be to become an active part of your high school experience and take advantage of the opportunities given to you,” she said. “If the opportunity is something good that could benefit you in the end, you don’t want to look back on your time in high school and regret that you didn’t try something because you were too scared or afraid.”
Thomas has also been active in the community through Junior Civitan and her church.
“Junior Civitan works the concession stand at the band competition and at basketball games as well as other projects, and I’ve done mission work through my church and visited nursing homes and served food to the needy,” she said.
“I think if we learn to help others now, it will just be second nature to us later on and that will make us better, more productive citizens.”
Besides the clubs, organizations and community work, Thomas has also been a member of the PCHS girls’ basketball team, the softball team, the track team and the fishing team.
“I love sports and that’s been a big part of my high school experience,” she said.
“I’m going to miss my friends and my teachers, but I will really miss playing sports when I graduate.”
But there are things about her graduation in the spring that also have Thomas looking forward to the future.
“I think college will be something that I will enjoy because I’ll get to meet new people, have more flexible school hours and actually get some breaks in between classes,” she said.
“There’s just a little bit more freedom involved with college and I’m looking forward to that.”
Thomas is currently deciding between attending the University of North Alabama or Jacksonville State University, mainly because of their teaching programs.
“I want to major in secondary education for English and literature and minor in library science,” she said. “I know both schools have good programs for those concentrations so really it will just come down to which school I feel more comfortable with and which school I can get the best scholarship from.”
Thomas said she chose a secondary education major because it seemed like the best fit for her.
“I really enjoy helping younger kids and I’ve always loved English and literature, so I thought being a teacher would be a great career for me,” she said. “It’s exciting to think that I would be teaching the next generation and preparing them for their future.”
Once she receives her college degree, Thomas said she would ideally like to find a job closer to home.
“I can definitely see myself moving back here and finding a teaching job in one of the local schools,” she said. “I’m a home body most of the time and I like being around my family, but I also just like the area. It’s where I grew up and I think it’s a good place to live.”
Her family includes parents Jeff and Charlotte Thomas; her brother, Brett Thomas; her brother Matthew Thomas, his wife, Denay, and their baby, Drue.