The Kiwanis Club of Gainesville on Tuesday celebrated its 98th anniversary with awards and a performing arts showcase at its annual dinner.
According to a press release from the organization, the John W. Jacobs, Jr. Youth Service Award and John C. Thompson Award were both presented at the event.
The John W. Jacobs, Jr. Youth Service Award is presented to a community member who is dedicated to serving and supporting area youth. Tommy Aaron was the 2023 recipient.
“This award honors Tommy’s legacy," Lee Rogers, a past Kiwanis president said. "He has taken his professional talent [in golf] and applied them to the community by pouring into our youth. Tommy has done this in several ways, such as giving them time and attention on the course as well as having awarded $150,000 in college scholarships. His legacy has blessed us and will continue to do so."
North Hall High School senior Elijah Jernigan won the 2023 John C. Thompson Award, which is given annually to an outstanding Key Club member who displays exemplary leadership. Club member Rusy Hopkins presented the award. Hopkins has a special connection with Jernigan, as he watched him grow up as his next-door neighbor.
“Eli has always proven to be dependable, thorough, and responsible," Hopkins said. "Young people like him make me feel very good about the future.”
Scholarships were also awarded to students deemed the top placements in the Charles J. Thurmond Performing Arts Showcase.
A quartet from Chestatee High School won first place. Students in that quartet include Kaden Childs, Mitchell Ryder, Sijiye Molefe and John Sykes. Ty Cronan, a pianist from North Hall High School won second place and Jose Ruiz-Zepada won third place while performing with the Alto Saxophone.