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Chamber of Commerce announces this year’s Junior Leaders

Each year the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce selects the cream of the crop to represent Franklin County as Junior Leaders, and this year of the 60 students who applied, 50 were selected.

Throughout the year, Junior Leaders will learn more about the county while serving at various events, such as Red Bay Founder’s Fest, Spirit of Hodges Festival, Spruce Pine Day, Holly Day and Easter Egg hunts.

“This year’s class of junior leaders already stands out to me by their eagerness to begin serving,” said Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Director Cassie Medley.

Chamber of Commerce board member Emily Mays said despite this year looking different because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Junior Leader students are maintaining positive attitudes about the experience and the impact they will be able to make.

“Students and parents alike have been very understanding as we’ve navigated working small groups through orientation, skills day and team building,” Mays said. “It’s important to take the utmost care, and we are thankful everyone has had patience as we’re learning the best way to do things.  All the students seem very eager to start working on their service hours and finding ways to help out across the county.”

Mays said the biggest difference for this year’s class of Junior Leaders is they will not get to experience serving at the Watermelon Festival, as it has been canceled because of the virus.

“That is a true rite of passage for our Junior Leaders,” Mays said. “Nothing brings them closer than those long, busy days working to make the festival a success, giving them a true behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to execute such an event.”

This year’s Junior Leaders class includes 37 students from Russellville High School, six from Red Bay High School, four from Belgreen High School, two from Vina High School and one from Phil Campbell High School.

Students selected from RHS are Keslie Allen, Gabe Amick, Sofia Bahena, Olivia Borden, Abby Boyd, Conner Byars, Madeline Cooper, Katie Brooke Cummings, Kiah Derrick, Addy Fikes, Eli Gipson, Emily Gipson, Maddy Green, Brock Grissom, Tal Hamilton, Reed Hill, Diana Jimenez-Rosas, Luis Lucas, Camille Lynn, Callie Mayberry, Grace McDermitt, Whitten McGee, Nicholas McSpadden, Nate Medley, Avary Miller, Hannah Mills, Arely Mojica, Canyon Pace, Karen Perez, Jayna Poss, Kaityln Reed, Leah Rushing, Anna Skidmore, Caroline Sparks, Catarina Sum, Tori Tiffin and Kade Touchstone.

Students selected from RBHS are Gracie Davis, Anna-Kate Kennedy, Avery Klose, Alyssa Parker, Kinzie Robbins and Bella West.

Students from BHS are Nora Castillo, Dulce Donagustin, Maria Estrada and Brodie Vandiver; from VHS, Hailey Cantrell and Abbie Petree; and from PCHS, Faith Cook.