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Citizens, students honored on Arbor Day in Georgiana

A group of Butler County citizens who have made their mark in the community were honored Thursday in Georgiana.

Butler County sheriff Kenny Harden; retired banker Charles Shepherd; longtime school secretary Barbara Willis; McKenzie School principal Randy Williams; Georgiana Hospital Director of Pharmacy Judson Garner; Pat Compton, director of Peoples Bank; Georgiana mayor, Mike Middleton; Dr. John Voreis; Dr. John Hollis, and Dr. Zabed Akbar were all recognized at the Georgiana Garden Club’s Arbor Day Celebration on Thursday during an outdoor ceremony at the log cabin.

“Today, we are planting this flowering Tea Olive in honor of these ten outstanding citizens, in appreciation of all they have done to serve our town and communities,” said GGC president Suzy Shepherd. “We hope the flowers that bloom on this tree will be a reminder to you all of the many lives you have touched.”

Excellent student performance was also recognized at the event through the National Garden Club Youth Awards.

In the Smokey Bear Poster Contests, winners were: 2nd Grade, 2nd Place, Bonnie Houston of McKenzie School; 5th grade, second place, Cameron Sellers of McKenzie School and 5th grade, 1st place, Chelsea Ledbetter of the Butler County Magnet School.

Woodsy Owl winners were: 2nd grade, 2nd place, Madison Covan of McKenzie School; 1st place, Bethany Odom of McKenzie; 4th grade, 2nd place, Elijah Pressley of McKenzie; 1st place, Dawson Miller, of McKenzie, 5th grade, 1st place, Claire Ledbetter of BCMS.

Shepherd also announced Butler County had three state winners in the NGC contests: Smokey Bear – 5th grade, Chelsea Ledbetter of BCMS; Woodsy Owl – 4th grade, Dawson Miller of McKenzie, and Claire Ledbetter of BCMS.

High School senior Ashtyne Cole, Shepherd’s granddaughter, was awarded 1st Place in the state for the Distinguished Service Award. Cole was also the 1st place local and state winner in the NGC Essay Contest and took honorable mention in the Deep South competition.

In the NGC Youth Poetry Contest “Our Beautiful World,” the following students took both 1st place in local and state competition: 6th grader Danielle Viers of McKenzie; Carrington Cole, 7th grade, of Trinity, and 8th grader Monica Bush of McKenzie and 9th grader Kristen Terry of McKenzie. Local winners in the poetry contest were 2nd place, Jesse Garcia of McKenzie and 3rd place, Savannah Schott. Deep South winners were 7th grader Carrington Cole and 9th grader Kristen Terry. All of the students received certificates along goody bags from the Butler County Forestry Department.

“We came back from our state conference with 27 winners, which is just wonderful, we think,” said Shepherd.

She encouraged all the students to keep entering the contests each year. “Who knows, one of you could go on to the national level and win a trip to Washington, DC,” she said.