TOP PHOTO: TCAT has been an integral part of the community for more than 50 years.

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Sometimes it doesn’t take much for career goals to get off track. Then again, sometimes it doesn’t take much to keep career goals on track. On Thursday morning, members of the Lions Club came together to keep career goals on track for some students at TCAT (The Tennessee College of Applied Technology).

Soon to be TCAT graduate Shelby Branam, left, and TCAT President Debbie Petree celebrated the special day on Thursday as the Lions Club made a much needed donation to the school.

Shelby Branam from Stinking Creek is one of those TCAT students who is keeping her career goals on track as a result of the Lions Club donation. “Thanks to this donation, I’m able to stay in school in the Cosmetology Program, and that will allow me the opportunity to graduate in early February,” said Branam, a tall blonde.

Her mother is not able to work right now, and that’s created some financial challenges as well as taking extra time to help her mother. “Mom and my step dad told me to go see Debbie, TCAT President Debbie Petree, and ask for help. And I did,” said Branam.

“We’re very fortunate to have these funds. It’s tremendous. Shelby is a dedicated student and needed some additional aid,” said President Petree.

Shelby Branam shares her dreams, goals and appreciation with the Lions Club.

“We’re really happy to do this,” said Lions Club Member Martha Wells. Wells goes on to say that the club redirected some funds and received a generous donation. The planned donation of a thousand dollars became a two-thousand dollar investment into the lives of these TCAT students Wells adds. With the larger than expected contribution, other students, in addition to Branam, will benefit.

“I’m really thankful for this, because it’s been a long road since I graduated from high school in 2018. I had people telling me what I needed to be doing, and I took them up on their advice. But being a cosmetologist has always been my dream,” said Branam. So she passed on all the advice and followed her dream.

Branam has always wanted to do hair, and she even was given a mannequin for Christmas one year. “That’s how I learned to braid, and from there, I’m the one who takes care of everyone’s hair at home helping everyone to get ready,” said Branam.

Living where she does, about in the middle of the county, she attended Campbell High for her first two years and then finished at Jellico High School. At the moment, Branam’s assisting in a salon after school and is job shadowing. “When I graduate, I plan to open my own shop and boutique close to home,” said Branam.

TCAT Counselor Camille Gambrell and TCAT President Debbie Petree had a lot to smile about at Thursday’s donation ceremony.

“She’s our shining star. Shelby likes to make people feel pretty,” said TCAT Counselor Camilla Gambrel. Thanks to the Lions Club donation TCAT’s shining star will continue to shine. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/15/2022-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON)