Maplesville High School holds annual FFA cookout

Published 1:27 pm Monday, April 25, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Maplesville High School hosted their annual FFA and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) cookout on the Red Devils campus on April 22. The school welcomed parents and friends to the grassy area in the front of the campus by Highway 139. Canopies, grills and lawn chairs filled the area in the morning to celebrate the accomplishment the school made in 2021-22.

The annual cookout has been going on for about 50 years, and was started in the late 1970s but there is not a specific date for the first one pinned down. This is the first year back for the cookout after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Started out cooking hot dogs, and it has just evolved into a community day,” Maplesville agriculture teacher Joe Dennis said. “It is a great day for the parents to come up and interact with the teachers, kids, and it’s really just a community day.”

Former teachers and principals also stopped by to mingle amongst the students and staff, and grab a bite to eat.

The cookout was paired with a field day for the students and the Chilton County National Guard came out in full force. The National Guard provided a rock-climbing wall, gladiator pit and football toss for the students. A tug of war between students and some of the parents at the cookout took place, but an overall winner had some discrepancies depending on who you asked.

“For me, it is about getting to know the community people,” National Guard recruiter Sean Gillespie said. “At the heartbeat of the National Guard is our community… This is a great way to serve our community and show that the National Guard are normal people embedded with them every day in their normal lives.”

The cookout ran from the start of school in the morning and ran up until Maplesville’s first round state playoff games starting at 1 p.m. It was a perfect scenario for a great atmosphere at the game having the crowd at the cookout migrate to the baseball field.

“I could be retired, but that’s why I’m still here is because of these kids,” Dennis said. “When we get finished, all the trash will be gone, parents will pack up all these tents, and it will look just like it did before it started.”

Dennis said an event like this at Maplesville High School is one of a kind in Chilton County. Along with the help of the National Guard, Dennis and the Maplesville FFA and FCCLA made the return of the annual cookout one to remember.

“We loved it here, the kids were great and the community was great, so it was a no brainer for us to come out today,” Gillespie said. “100% coming back next year. Anything that benefits the community and our kids we will be a part of.”