Fundraiser to help with leadership forum

By Dean Palmer - Special to The News

Tommy O’Reilly

Whitaker’s Chapel United Methodist Church will host a hot dog supper on Friday evening from 5:30 until 7:30, with all proceeds to go toward helping 10-year-old Tommy O’Reilly attend the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM Envision program to be held July 16-21 in Washington, D.C.

Tommy is in the fourth grade at Pilot Mountain Elementary School and is an honor roll student. He was nominated for the summer program by his teacher, Daphne Wright.

“I nominated Tommy for the National Youth Leadership Forum this year because of his excellence in the classroom,” Wright explained. “He is a leader in our school and in the community. He has been a positive role model and a motivated team player throughout the year.”

“Attending the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., would be an amazing opportunity for Tommy to participate in a curriculum that encourages students to investigate their interests,” Wright continued. “The fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are considered to be essential to the United States’ future success and competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

Tommy is the son of David and Debbie O’Reilly of Pilot Mountain. He has two siblings, Rose, age 7, and 6-year-old James. The family lives on a farm with 20 pigs and cows. Tommy, who hopes to some day become a veterinarian, enjoys helping to care for the farm animals.

Active in his community, Tommy is a member of Pilot Mountain Cub Scout Pack 545, a junior member of the Pilot Mountain Ruritan Club and serves as an acolyte at Whitaker’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

The O’Reilly family was notified by letter of Tommy’s selection for the forum. As they did online research into the program, their interest and Tommy’s excitement continued to grow.

“It’s quite an honor,” David O’Reilly said. “Tommy is interested in science in a big way and this has all the things he’s interested in.”

O’Reilly described the daily schedule, filled with activities from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., as “very comprehensive and pretty intense.” Among the described activities Tommy is most looking forward to are a “Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) case,” medical study – including the dissection of a heart, robotics and math.

“It all looks really cool and fun,” Tommy O’Reilly noted with enthusiasm.

The hot dog supper will be held in the church fellowship hall, located at 751 Whitaker Chapel Road. The meal will consist of hot dogs, chips, dessert and a beverage at a cost of $5 or a donation. Live music will be provided by the group, “Twice Born.”

“Tommy is a well-rounded and creative young man who is excels in school and is active in his church and community,” noted Whitaker’s Chapel United Methodist Church Administrative Council Chairperson Linda Covington. “He is a diligent worker and puts his all into everything he does. His willingness to work and help others is a character trait that is not typical of today’s youth of his age. It’s rewarding to teach him in Sunday School and work with him at other events. We who know him are so proud of him and his accomplishments. He is so worthy of this honor and we appreciate any donations given.”

Tommy O’Reilly O’Reilly

By Dean Palmer

Special to The News

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