President Jim Stapleton called on Chairperson Michael Ray for this week’s program. Michael then introduced Zina Ponsell, the Children’s Coordinator and Community Awareness and Education Coordinator for Magnolia House, Waycross Area Shelter for Abused Persons, Inc. Ms. Ponsell began with a definition of “child abuse” as any behavior directed toward a child by a parent, guardian, caregiver, other family member or another adult that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and/or development. Every nine seconds a child is assaulted or beaten with 10 million witnesses annually. Locally, Magnolia House served 245 cases, with 15,969 different service activities, 3153 bed nights provided and 94 children served.
Domestic violence can have devastating effects on children who are exposed to it in their homes. With love, patience, and understanding children have the best hope to overcome the hurt. Children have the best chance of healing when violence is totally removed from their homes. Magnolia House offers a full range of services in the areas of Education (self-defense, active listening, and child safety plan) in large groups, small groups, and individual settings in search of the “peaceable place”; Curriculums (parenting classes, Darkness to light instruction) to combat the effects of domestic violence both short term and long term from preschool to school-age and then teens. The PowerPoint Presentation ended with the playing of the music video “Eleventh Commandment – Honor Thy Children”, a very powerful message in words, music, and pictures of the emotional impact of child abuse and the goal of a safe environment to become a self-sufficient individual in a stable community.
Exchange Clubs adopted Child Abuse Prevention as a National Project in 1979 to join with parents and programs to help break the cycle of abuse in their community and recognizes the efforts of organizations like Magnolia House for their professional and effective programs of service. Thank you!


Today I am presenting the Waycross Exchange Club Youth of the Year Award. Our club considers it a privilege to offer this award to such deserving students. First, I’d like to welcome the family and friends of our honorees. Without your love, support, and encouragement these students wouldn’t be where they are today. Also, I want to recognize the Ware County High School counselor Ms. Loretta Coar and thank her for her help in making this program possible.
Throughout the school year, the Waycross Exchange Club has recognized 7 high school seniors who have excelled in academics, athletics, and community service. Each student has already received a plaque and will now be presented with a $100 scholarship.


Let us show our appreciation to these exceptional students! Each of these students was considered for the “Youth of the Year” award, which was determined by a grading system where points were awarded based on academics, athletics, leadership, community involvement, and a written essay.
The essay for this year’s competition was titled “I recognize my responsibility in shaping America’s future. I have stepped out of my comfort zone during uncertain times and made a difference. I am part of history and here is where it started.” The student that received the most points was chosen as the Youth of the Year and will now receive a plaque, a $500 scholarship, and will represent the Waycross Exchange Club at the district competition. On behalf of The Waycross Exchange Club, I would like to announce this year’s “Youth of the Year” recipient:


It is with much enthusiasm that I introduce to you Trinitee Johnson. Trinitee is the daughter of Dr. Keith and LaDonna Johnson. She is currently ranked 45th out of 345 Ware County High School seniors. Trinitee’s Activities/Honors at WCHS include:

  • BETA Club 10thh – 12th Grade
  • National Honor Society 11th – 12th Grade
  • Varsity Sideline Cheerleader 9th – 12th Grade
  • Varsity Competition Cheerleader 9th – 12th Grade
  • Varsity Competition Cheer Capt. 12th Grade
  • Varsity Soccer 10th Grade
  • FBLA Member 10th – 12th Grade
  • Student Council 11th Grade
  • First Southern Bank Jr. Board of Directors 12th Grade
  • Jr. Debutantes President 11th Grade
  • Debutantes President 12th Grade
  • Homecoming Queen 12th Grade
  • Miss Ware County High 9th Grade
  • Miss Reigning America Jr. Teen 10th Grade
  • Miss Middle Georgia Teen USA 12th Grade

Competing in a National Pageant called USA National Miss Teen Title Trinitee has been involved in a number of community activities including

  • Conducted anti-bullying and Self –Love workshops
  • Assisted with Early Risers Leadership workshops for student-athletes
  • Volunteered with the WCHS Kiddie Camp as a coach
  • Distributed Covid love letters to those who needed encouragement
  • Created Thanksgiving basket for distribution to the needy
  • Produced a video for military personnel
  • Christmas caroled for the elderly

After graduation from Ware County High School, Trinitee plans to attend Troy State University in Troy, Alabama, and major in sports broadcasting.

Unity for Service

Our Motto - Unity for Service
The motto was adopted in 1917.
Its originator, Charles Berkey,
said the motto was inspired
by the 133rd Psalm, which says
“Behold how good and pleasant
it is for brethren to dwell
together in unity.”

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