Amazing Shake winners and STAR Students recognized at Chamber Connect luncheon

Published 6:42 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

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The Chamber of Commerce held its monthly Chamber Connect luncheon at the Kirbo Center last Thursday. After a brief recap of the previous week’s Chamber Awards, Chamber President Karen Tobin introduced April Aldridge to speak about the First Port City Bank Youth Leadership program, which had held it’s Amazing Shake competition earlier that morning.

One program participant, Hasten Wilkinson, spoke to the audience about the projects students were assigned in the group, including planning a trip while having to work with different personality types, as well as having to learn about communication in the workplace.

“This class is full of important life experiences, and people that will support you for a lifetime,” Wilkinson said.

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After Wilkinson spoke, Aldridge explained to the audience what the Amazing Shake was: a series of rapid-fire events where students engage with multiple professionals from the community in different scenarios, all in one-minute sessions. The student’s performances are judged on several criteria; the top three students of this year’s Amazing Shake were Gynelle Cooper in third, Gambler Dollar in second, and Walker Elrod in first.

Elrod briefly spoke on his experience with the program, saying, “I think that the Amazing Shake is just an amazing opportunity to give younger people experiences that they’re gonna experience in the future… I think that it was an amazing opportunity to be able to gain skills that we will definitely need later on in life. I wish that every kid would take the opportunity to do this, and I’m so happy that I was able to do it.”

Following the Youth Leadership Program’s recognition, the Chamber recognized this year’s STAR Students and Teachers, those being Brock Howell from BHS, and Evan Sigman from Grace Christian Academy. Howell selected Joseph Kelly as his STAR Teacher, while Sigman chose Dianne Lane. Additionally, Howell and Kelly were also recognized as this year’s System Winners.

After these award presentations, Southern Regional Technical College president Jim Glass took to the podium. After giving a brief overview of the college and introducing several attendees from SRTC, Glass introduced the school’s GOAL student and Student of the Year, Armani Miller. Miller is a radiologic technology major planning to specialize in mammography. Glass also recognized Kerrie Wilson, SRTC’s Commercial Truck Driving Program Chair. Both briefly spoke after Glass concluded.

The luncheon concluded with drawing for door prizes.