By Bill White
Standing confidently on a box, sixth grader Madison Fulmer rapped the gavel on the bell beside the lectern and brought the noon meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Alcoa to order on Monday, Jan. 28.
She called on member Art Hafner to deliver the invocation, led the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of “America the Beautiful” and introduced John D. Smalling, who shared Human/Spiritual Values with the club.
Madison, daughter of Shane and Zee Fulmer of Maryville, is president of the newly organized Kiwanis Builders Club at William Blount Middle School. She and her fellow officers -- vice-president Mary Baker, daughter of Kenneth and Conchita Baker, and secretary Samantha Sumner, daughter of Charlie and Melissa Sumner -- were special guests of the Alcoa club.
Accompanying them were the WBMS Builders Club teacher/sponsors Marion Elrod and Amy Chandler, and Mary Baker’s grandmother, Linda Baker, the group’s driver.
“This is a first occasion for us to allow future leaders to play a big part in our Kiwanis meeting,” Alcoa president Herk Holbert said.
Alcoa Kiwanis meets every Monday at noon at Green Meadow Country Club.
Builders Club, organized by the Alcoa club, is open to students between the ages of 12 and 14 at William Blount Middle School. Holbert credited Alcoa member David Duggan with helping to launch the WBMS club in early 2007.
Elrod, a study skills and teen living teacher at the school, said she and Chandler, sixth grade science and social studies teacher, asked other teachers to recommended students with leadership skills for the inaugural group, which had five members. The club now has 11 members, including two boys; all are sixth graders.
“We expect the club to grow next year with more seventh and eighth graders,” Elrod said. “There is a great deal of interest.”
Madison told the Alcoa club that her group meets every Tuesday morning for about 30 minutes before classes begin. They discuss and/or work on service projects.
“We raised $344 for the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk and collected $153 for UNICEF,” she said.
Ongoing projects include collecting “Labels for Education” from more than 150 Campbell’s food products, Tyson A+ labels and used printer ink cartridges to purchase school materials and supplies. The group also made holiday decorations for Liberty Assisted Living LLC and participated in the annual Maryville Alcoa Christmas Parade with the Alcoa Kiwanis Club on Dec. 8.
“This is about being responsible for our youth and showing leadership in the future,” Holbert said. “William Blount Middle School Builders Club is what Kiwanis is all about. They are ambassadors for our club and Kiwanis International.”
Alcoa Kiwanis also sponsors Key Clubs at Alcoa and William Blount high schools and a Circle K Club at Maryville College.