Jefferson Middle School Ski and Snowboard Club Supports Gatlinburg

January 18, 2017

As have so many across the country and throughout Tennessee, students and teachers from Jefferson Middle School express their sadness by the recent fires that burned through Gatlinburg, destroying a number of buildings and homes.

JMS ski and snowboard club members have been taking after-school trips to Ober Gatlinburg for over 20 years on Wednesday afternoons each winter. This year, to show support for the area and those who are working to rebuild, the students are wearing Smokies Strong t-shirts for their ski trips to Ober Gatlinburg.

The shirts were a gift from an anonymous donor who provided the club with 50 shirts. Allison Myers, a 7th grader said, “When our club showed up in our Smokies Strong shirts on our first trip of the season it had an impact on the workers up there, and I’m just really glad the club could play even a small part in helping lift their spirits.” The Red Cross, the Dollywood Foundation, and Friends of the Smokies will benefit from proceeds of the sales of the shirts.

The club was also able to present Pete Jucker, the Director of Instruction at Ober Gatlinburg with a “Heal and Rebuild at the Heart of the Fire” flag that was signed by the students. Pete and his wife Joy, who lost their home and possessions in the fire, designed the flags. Property owners who have suffered similar losses and are rebuilding will each receive a Heal and Rebuild flag on their home sites. Each flag flies as a symbol of hope.

“I pray for the families who lost their homes or even a loved one, but I urge them to have courage in this time of rebuilding,” added Christopher Thornburgh, an 8th grader in the club.

The JMS Ski & Snowboard Club wants to express thanks and appreciation to those who have supported the Gatlinburg rebuilding process. They also want to let Pete and other staff at Ober Gatlinburg who experienced loss from the fires know that the students and staff at JMS continue to think about them.

Nick Dallas, an 8th grader and veteran of the club offered that, “In my years at Jefferson I have really enjoyed the ski and snowboard club and I especially appreciate everything that Mr. Jucker and the rest of the staff at Ober have done to help us become better skiers and snowboarders.”

The school continues to stand with them, Smokies Strong.

Article and photos submitted by JMS teacher and club sponsor, Scott Linn