NASHVILLE– The State Senate paused on Thursday morning to recognize Prescott South Elementary student, Lillian Upchurch, for creating a program at her school to make sure every student, regardless of financial difficulties experienced by their family, has a happy birthday.  Upchurch received a framed copy of Senate Joint Resolution 210, sponsored by Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta), which was signed by Governor Bill Haslam on Monday.  State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) were on hand to commend the nine-year-old girl for her uplifting effort to bring joy and happiness to her classmates and her community.

The counselors at Lillian’s school pick two families that they know are having hard financial times under the program.  The counselors coordinate with Cookeville’s Life Church and Random Acts of Kindness to gather all the items needed to create a Birthday Box, including sodas, party invitations, cups, plates, presents, streamers, and anything else needed to coordinate the perfect birthday party. The birthday boxes are then delivered to the chosen students’ families.

“I have had the opportunity to visit with Lillian and her family,” said Senator Bailey.  “The humbleness that she has, and the story that inspired her to go about creating the birthday boxes show how much she cares for her fellow classmates.  This is the Tennessee volunteer spirit!”

“Lillian was able to bring the community together to understand the need for this program and to do that at nine years old is unparalleled,” added Rep. Williams. 

Lillian was recently noticed by Rice Krispies for her efforts, who donated a year’s worth of treats to the birthday boxes program.  “What she is doing is not just being noticed in our community and state, but across the nation,” Williams continued.

Lillian was accompanied in the Senate chamber by her mother and father, Oscar and Jessica Upchurch.  The family resides in White County.  She is the granddaughter of Butch and Cheryl Hodgkins and Carl and Rita Sparks, all of Fentress County.