Hastings Knox is a ten year-old fifth grader at Gordon-Bibb Elementary School. He is a very out-going and involved student. Hastings loves being a part of the Science and Chess Clubs. He enjoys being in the “Friends of Firefighters” association started by his fifth grade teacher. He is a member of the safety patrol team and especially enjoys being the Student Council President at Gordon-Bibb Elementary.
Hastings is involved in a plethora of activities. He is active in his Church youth group, sports, and other community activities. He loves being around people and taking an active part in their lives. Hastings is a greeter at his Church where he welcomes visitors and passes out pamphlets that tell about his Church. He is a part of a program called “Lads-to-Leaders” that helps mold young men into role models for their peers. It also encourages the importance of the family.
“Lads-to-Leaders” Convention is held annually in Nashville, Tennessee, where approximately 10,000 participants compete in various events at the Opryland Hotel. He has competed in this program since he was old enough and has won many awards and trophies for his speaking, singing, and leadership abilities. Hastings also does puppet shows at Church for the younger children during their Children’s Church. He speaks and leads singing during the regular church service at night periodically. Hastings enjoys being a part of the drama team at Church and especially loves the acting he gets to do during Vacation Bible School.
Hastings has a special soft spot for the elderly. He participates every Thanksgiving with a group of young people that get up very early the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving to assemble and deliver fruit baskets to shut-ins. He volunteers to help them mow, rake and pick-up in their yards throughout the year. Hastings also volunteers to go visit and sing at nursing homes in our community.
Hastings is extremely involved in cultural art events. He enjoys acting and performing. He is a current member of ENCORE! Jr. that performs with the adult performing arts group ENCORE! He has been a member of ENCORE! Jr. since he was seven years old. Hastings has been in several community productions for both Decatur Civic Chorus and Dream Weavers Children’s Theatre. His last Dream Weavers show was “HONK”, the musical version of Hans Christian Anderson’s the Ugly Duckling. Hastings was honored in this show by being assigned, by the director, to be mentor to a Down’s syndrome child that was also in the performance. This was a job that Hastings took seriously and still talks about the experience that he had with Sean.
Hastings recently had the idea of helping the hurricane victims. He persuaded his classmates to undertake a “book drive” to collect and provide books for those students in South Alabama that lost their entire school libraries. People ask Hastings why he chose books and he has his answer ready. He will readily tell you that books are things that ALL students have and can donate without having to ask their parents for extra money. Hastings gets e-mails every day through his fifth grade teacher. His teacher laughs as she tells everyone that Hastings receives at least 3 phone calls a day from the office. Of course, this keeps her busy since she must monitor each call first. She has allowed him to set up his own “office” where he answers e-mail, sends out correspondents and write thank-yous to people who have donated books.
Hastings has received calls and donations from upper New York State, Connecticut, the University of Alabama, firefighters, a historical society of ladies in a surrounding community. He set he goal at a lofty 50,000 books. He has to date collected around 8,000 books. He wants to continue the drive until he has reached his goal. He always is careful to thank his teacher and his classmates for their part in the collections. He knows without their help things would not have gone so well with collecting. Hastings, with the aid of his teacher, has gotten Fed Ex to ship the books free to their final destination in Mobile, Alabama. This is another example of how Hastings loves to help people.
Hastings is a true example of a child with love and service in his heart. Many people have experienced young children who, from a very early age, exhibit kindness and caring for others. Hastings is one of those children. He is concerned that others are kind, as well, and will do his best to lead his classmates in making decisions that show good will toward each other. While some are apt to drop the ball when it comes to carrying out a project, Hastings will make sure that he follows through and gets the job done. The incredible response he has had promoting “Hurricane Helpers” has been phenomenal. Books are still coming in, as are responses from across the country. School children in the hurricane-ravaged panhandle will enjoy the efforts of Hasting Knox for many years to come.