FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2014
For more information,
Contact: Natalie Lester
If you set aside his usual modesty, Elliott Stroupe stands out as a great success story for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.
Raised by a divorced mother of three children who had to scramble to find a roof for the family to live under in an inner-city neighborhood, Stroupe is now an award-winning teacher and former coach at Webb School.
He credits the lessons he learned as a youth and staff member at the Boys & Girls Club and the people there and elsewhere for steering him on the right path to his success today. And he keeps giving back.
Today, Stroupe led a group of Webb School student tutors to the Caswell Avenue club for the annual year-end party with Boys & Girls Club kids in the gym at the old facility.
In that gym where Stroupe learned many life lessons, Merrill Lynch’s Dugan McLaughlin, co-chair of the “Our Kids, Our Future” campaign told the young people that when the gym is rebuilt as part of a new building, the floor will be named for Stroupe.
The naming is made possible by a generous $500,000 gift from Cherokee Distributing Company to the “Our Kids, Our Future” Campaign that will create a new facility for the club, expand services from 5,000 to 7,500 area children and add technological and other new tools for learning.
Stroupe was gracious in his thanks to Cherokee Distributing Company for the honor. “It is a great organization, a great family,” he said.
“The Boys & Girls Club is truly saving lives,” Stroupe said. “I had so many great experiences at the club, so many of the best years ever. The club touched my life and continues to do so.”
Stroupe credits former club leaders Hal Stephens, John Lee, Ken Bowman and Bob Jackson, as well as current club staff member Ernie Brooks, for guiding him in the right direction. He also thanked former Fulton High School teacher George Whedbee for going to the trouble of calling him to get out of bed and go to class.
He began attending the club in 1960. He played basketball at East High School and later graduated from Fulton.
“The value of sports is that it put me in a good peer group,” Stroupe said. He later became the full-time physical director at the club, developing one of the best-known sports programs in the area.
As a youth, Stroupe would stay all day at the club.
“They had to run me out of there,” Stroupe said. “I grew up there as an adolescent, and then I grew more as a staff member.”
In addition to teaching science at Webb, he served as head basketball coach for five years. He also served as middle school track, football, tennis and basketball coach. He was inducted into the Knoxville Interscholastic League Coaches Hall of Fame.
To honor Stroupe, who has a master’s degree and teaches science at Webb, the school gave him the Donald L. Tarvin Award for exemplifying the qualities of leadership to be imparted to students. The school also created the Elliott Stroupe Award for Leadership and Service.
“It is really gratifying when someone comes up to you and says, ‘My daughter won the Elliott Stroupe leadership award,’ ” he said.
Of the Webb tutoring program, Stroupe said he doesn’t know who the true beneficiary is – the Boys & Girls Club kids, or him and the Webb School students.
“The best way to learn is to teach,” he said.
According to McLaughlin, co-chair of the “Our Kids, Our Future” Campaign, with Tony Hollin of Edfinancial, the effort is in the private phase of fundraising.
“We greatly appreciate the generous gift from Cherokee Distributing Company,” McLaughlin said. “Many young people have gone through the program at the Boys & Girls Clubs and, like Elliott, have become contributing leaders in our community. The club has a proven track record of success, but the need is greater than ever and expanding our services is so critical.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the needs of the club and the campaign may call Lisa Hurst at (865) 232-1113 or Cardin Bradley at (865) 232-1194.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley began providing opportunities for youth in Knoxville in 1943 and has now grown into a four-county service area. Seventeen facilities exist in Knox, Blount, Loudon and North Anderson counties of the Tennessee Valley, and the clubs employ over 260 full-time and part-time staff members. Through the Boys & Girls Clubs, young people are shown that someone cares, and there are concerned and capable adults to whom they can turn for assistance. More than 6,300 at-risk boys and girls take advantage of the programs, activities and services provided by the clubs. They benefit from trained and caring staff and volunteers who help young people take control of their lives, envision productive futures and reach their goals.