Calera Chamber welcomes junior members         

Nine juniors and seniors from Calera High School are participating in the Calera Chamber of Commerce's Junior Chamber Program. (Reporter photo / Jessa Pease)

Nine juniors and seniors from Calera High School are participating in the Calera Chamber of Commerce’s Junior Chamber Program. (Reporter photo / Jessa Pease)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer 

CALERA— Nine Calera High School students were welcomed to the Calera Chamber of Commerce at its Aug. 11 luncheon. The students are part of the Junior Chamber Program, giving them the opportunity to earn scholarship money by participating in 10 learning/service projects throughout the year.

This is the Calera Chamber’s second year hosting the program, and Calera is the only local chamber to have this program of this type, according to executive director Jennifer Hand.

“These are some of the best and the brightest for Calera High School,” Hand said. “They are young ladies and men that you should already be proud of because they are choosing to reach even further to get to know their government operations, to understand business and to grow in their interactions with adults.”

Junior chamber members consist of Chet Avery, Travis Johnson, Claire Headley, Madison Jacobs, Ariel James, Peyton Mize, Faith Blair, Hope Fuller and Austin Falkner. These students have already completed orientation with their parents and are ready to begin the year.

Scholarships will be available to each of the students who qualify. Every activity, event or service opportunity is worth 10 points, and Hand said it is up to the students to earn enough points for the scholarships.

Juniors can earn up to $250, and seniors can earn up to $500. Participants must earn between 85-100 points to earn a full scholarship and between 70-84 points for half.

This year, the junior members were each sponsored by a member of the chamber. The sponsorship included a fee that gives the chamber more funding for the program, and it also benefits the organization. The junior members will be interviewing and writing a two-page report on their sponsoring company and will partner with the company to come up with a social media campaign.

“The community couldn’t ask for more,” Hand said. “As a business community, we are here to add value not only to our members, but also to the community we operate in. Putting time, effort and a little bit of funds into the youth only benefits the community from the bottom up.”