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Katie’s Lemonade continues to support school

By Denise Hester

For the FCT

When a tornado devastated the town of Phil Campbell in 2011, Katie Smith was left with the emotional aftermath. Trying to cope with the damaged town and the loss of two friends was becoming unbearable.

“I had to do something to cope,” Smith said. “I wanted to make something good out of what was bad.”

That’s what led to the lemonade stand she has hosted every year at the Phil Campbell Hoedown since the tornado.

With money raised from her summer lemonade, Smith helps to fund a new purchase each year for Phil Campbell schools. When she was an elementary student, purchases included a field trip and new library books. Last summer’s efforts funded two new metal benches for the high school campus.

This summer she raised more than $600 for PCHS to purchase a special podium to replace one that was lost in the tornado.

Smith said she feels inspired each time someone visits her lemonade stand and feels the urge to donate to her cause. It lets her know someone else understands. She said she has been fortunate to make a lot of friends at her lemonade stand – even “Brooklyn Phil Campbell,” one of several people who have adopted the town that shares their name.

Phil Campbell Principal Gary Odom expressed his appreciation for Smith’s continued efforts for Phil Campbell High School.

“Katie is an inspiring young woman, and it’s great to see the way she cares about doing something for our school,” he said. “Not every high school student thinks like that.”