Last Saturday, the Excel Club of Copperas Cove conducted a meet and greet at the Copperas Cove Public Library.

The Excel Club is made up of Copperas Cove High School students and is connected to the National Exchange Club of Copperas Cove.

Charles Lyons, director of the Copperas Cove High School Excel Club since 2016, said, “the National Exchange Club is the head organization and decided to incorporate high school students into their program.

“We are a 501-C4 Organization that does some of the same things that the main National Exchange Club does; we just do it a lower level due to the fact that we don’t have the same fundraising capabilities as the National Exchange Club has.

Lyons continued, “We currently have 11 members. This meeting was a chance for us to possibly meet new potential members, but we understand that this was a three-day weekend, and there are still challenges for us holding meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. We did put this event out on social media, and some of our members could not make it due to personal reasons, however three members came today.

“Our key goals right now with the club is setting the stage for next year. We will lose a few members due to graduating from Cove High School, and so we are hoping to add new members before school starts next fall,” he said.

“Normally we are able to recruit new members during the high school’s open house, but because school did not start the normal way due to COVID-19, they were not able to come to the school and pick out the organizations that they want to be a part of, we were unable to market as well, and there are many clubs and organizations that the students can choose from.

Despite all of the challenges, Lyons said, the group has already completed eight service events, and has qualified for the National Exchange Clubs’ highest award, which is the National Service Award.

“In order to receive that award we have to complete one event in four service areas: the area of child abuse and prevention, do a youth program, such as the Boys and Girls Club ... we also supported feasts of sharing at Thanksgiving — and this year was a challenge because we had to go out and deliver 450 meals to all of the families that were in their cars. In a normal year everyone can sit together at tables and enjoy the food, deserts and beverages that were made and delivered by exchange and Excel Club members.”

Matthew Lanning, who has been an Excel Club member for four years, is a a senior and will be leaving the club when he graduates this year.

He has participated in the feasts of sharing, and other service events like ringing the Salvation Army bell for Christmas.

“I have learned a lot about volunteering and making a difference while being in this club,” Lanning said.

“What it means to me being in the Excel Club, it is a big responsibility,” said Ja’Nay Brown. “I really liked ringing the bell at Christmas for the Salvation Army and I feel good knowing that I helped with an event that I know the donations are going for a good cause.”

Alorah Satterfield said, “I have not been a member for very long but I think that being in this group will teach us a lot about responsibility, and making a difference in the community.”

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