The First National Bank of Talladega participated in the Alabama Bankers Association Legislative Day on Wednesday, April 22nd. The event allows ABA members from across Alabama to invite high school students to Montgomery to learn about how the legislative process works. The students were invited to tour the Capitol and the State House and were privileged to meet Robert Bentley, Governor of Alabama.
Don Belew, Don Huddleston and Pam Cheatwood of First National invited twelve students from six area schools across Talladega County to attend the event. This year’s student guests of First National Bank were Mason McLean and Kelsey Swain of Lincoln High School; Sam Thomas and Courtney Dates of Talladega High School; Landan Scott and Paige Harles of Munford High School; Caleb Fluker and Chase Holmes of Winterboro High School; Xavian Tate and Jayla Moore of Talladega County Central High School; and Joseph Carney and Savannah Jackson of Hope Academy. Nicole Callahan, Arcadia Garrett and Leslie Gilliam served as chaperones.
“We could not have asked for a better group of student leaders to represent First National Bank and Talladega County,” said Don Huddleston, Assistant Vice President and Loan Officer of First National. “The students were very enthusiastic and were curious to learn how our State government operates.”
The group arrived at the Capitol at 9:15am and was greeted on the steps by John Mark Bentley, son of Robert Bentley. He personally escorted the group to the governor’s office, where the students individually shook the governor’s hand and introduced themselves. Before heading to the State House for a tour of the House Floor and Gallery, the students posed for a picture with Governor Bentley.
While touring the House Floor and Gallery, the students learned all about what goes on during sessions in the House of Representatives. Clay Redden, Public Information Officer of the House of Representatives, explained to the students the step-by-step process of how a bill is introduced and voted on in the House. The students were allowed to participate in a mock vote by using the same voting machines as the Representatives.
“The students really enjoyed participating in the mock vote,” said Pam Cheatwood, Deposit and Loan Operations Associate of First National. “It truly was the highlight of the trip for them. Everyone had a wonderful time.”
The students then headed to the Capitol Auditorium where they listened to State Treasurer Young Boozer speak and had the chance to meet Treasurer Boozer and other legislative delegates, including Representative Oliver Robinson of Jefferson County. The group enjoyed a guided tour of the Capitol before having lunch and hearing Governor Bentley and John Harrison, Superintendent of the State Banking Department, speak.
“John Harrison spoke to all of the Legislative Day participants about the strength and importance of financial institutions in Alabama,” said Don Belew, President and CEO of First National Bank. “He recognized the number of banks in Alabama over 100 years old; and specifically the one and only bank that survived the Civil War, two World Wars, and the Depression; with that bank being First National Bank of Talladega.”
“I was very proud for FNBT to be recognized by Superintendent Harrison in front of such a large group of Bankers and students,” continued Belew. “The comments concerning our Bank were very positive.”
“We look forward to doing this again next year,” said Cheatwood. “It’s great that ABA sponsors a Legislative Day event for students. It was so nice of our legislators, specifically Governor Bentley, to take the time to meet our students.”