Giving back comes naturally to Rachel Pierce, 16, and as the new historian for the Excel Club of Copperas Cove High School, she loves the activities the club does to help others.
“Everyone in the community does so much for us that we should repay them,” Pierce said.
That spirit of giving was a big part of the ceremony Dec. 3 as Pierce and 11 other students received praise and a club pin at the officer installation dinner and new member installation in the school’s cafeteria.
The Excel Club is a part of the Copperas Cove Noon Exchange Club and part of the larger Exchange Club network. With almost 700 clubs and more than 21,000 members nationwide, the Exchange Club is 104-years old. The Excel Club is about 6 — it mirrors the goals of the national organization of community service, creating awareness for the prevention of child abuse and promoting patriotism.
A crowd of about 30 people enjoyed a dinner prepared by students from the CCHS Culinary Arts department, and then club members received an Exchange Club pin, a Blue Ribbon for child abuse prevention and a certificate.
Among the crowd was James Pierce, Jr., newly elected Councilman for Place 2, and Rachel’s father.
“It’s a good opportunity for these kids to start giving back more than they receive,” he said.
Tawana Peterson watched her son, 16-year-old Jaylen Peterson, inducted and sworn in as the club’s new treasurer. She praised the club for helping young people develop leadership skills.
“It makes them become more out-spoken and confident when they interact with the public,”she said.
Dennis Ayers, president of the Noon Exchange Club, attributes the strong sense of volunteerism to the Army community.
“The military influence in the Fort Hood area is a major factor because these kids are taught to give back from an early age,” he said.
Currently, the Excel Club has 31 members that participate in numerous events, such as The Noon Exchange Club’s Color Run that raised over $15,000 for child abuse prevention, the city’s Feast of Sharing and a recent food drive.
All that activity makes Taylor Flores, 15, eager for more events.
“It’s a pretty awesome club, and I’m proud to be a member,” Flores said.
Excel Club officers inducted were President Destiny Frank, President-elect Johnathon Grabowski, Secretary Taylor Flores, Treasurer Jaylen Peterson and Historian Rachel Pierce.