1977, two visionary brothers, Alvin Adkisson and Thomas Gill, Sr.,
had the idea to organize a state-wide conference to provide Tennessee
youth with encouragement, knowledge, and the spiritual ammunition
to navigate through life. From their vision, the conference became
an annual event, patterned after the National Youth Conference,
including conference themes, pageants, and Bible Bowl competitions.
State Youth Conference adopts the theme of the National Conference
each year. Over the years, many young people have been recognized
for their talents and Bible knowledge.
Adkisson was born on December 7, 1926, in Bell Town, Cheatam
County, Tennessee. He was born to Phillip Jeremiah Adkisson and
Effie Ann Robinson Adkisson, the fifth of five children.
Adkisson attended the following schools: Ashcraft Elementary School;
Washington Junior High School; and Pearl High School, where he graduated
in 1945. His college education included a Bachelor’s degree
in Business Administration from Tennessee A & I State University,
in 1950, and a Master’s in Education Administration from East
Tennessee State University in 1958.
taught at Pike County Agricultural High School in Magnolia, Mississippi,
in 1951. He served as Principal at various schools. He was the Principal
of Pike County High School and later the Principal of Eva Gordon
Attendance Center from 1959 to 1964. He was the Principal of O.H.
Barnard High School in Centerville, Tennessee, in 1964, and Principal
of Hickman County High School from 1969 -1970. He later moved to
the Central Office of the Hickman School System, where he retired
in 1992. His love for children enabled him to put several young
men who drove for him through college.
1961, he was instrumental in organizing a youth trip for the children
of Nashville Churches of Christ to attend their first National Youth
Conference in Houston, Texas. He became a Youth Director for the
National Youth Council in 1963.
Phillip Adkisson entered eternal rest on August 10, 2006, after
a long illness.
Edward Gill Sr.
was inspired by the word of God as a child. He was baptized at the
age of nine at the Jefferson Street Church of Christ. He states
that, “the only thing a youngster was allowed to do in those
days was to collect song books after each service and stack them
on a table,” Many of the elderly Christians encouraged him
and had a great deal of influence on his life. When Thomas was about
twelve years old, his parents began working with the 15th Avenue
Church of Christ, where Thomas served as one of the song leaders
for many years. In 1956, he graduated from Hayes High School and
attended Tennessee A&I State College (Tennessee State University).
later years, he and his parents placed membership at the Whites
Creek Pike Church of Christ, where he continued to work in the church.
It was there that he met and married the late Mattie Sanders Gill,
and this union lasted until her death. They had two children, Brenda
and Thomas Jr. (Tommy).
1974, Thomas and his family placed membership at Schrader Lane Church
of Christ, where he continues to be very active. He has a special
“love” for the young. He assisted Alvin Adkisson as
youth coordinator. Together, they organized the first Tennessee
State Youth Conference in 1978.
1982, Thomas was ordained as a deacon and served in that capacity
for fives years. In 1987, he was ordained as elder. Presently, he
is retired after working as Area Supervisor of Operations for Metropolitan-Nashville
Public Schools for thirty-eight years. He loves the outdoors, and
his hobbies include gardening and “braking for yard sales.”
He is married to Barbara Smith Gill. In addition to Brenda and Tommy,
their blended family consists of two other children, Sharon Smith
Segovia and Ronald L. Smith. Their family also includes a daughter-in-law,
Donna Gill, son-in-law, Condell Segovia; grandchildren: Jasmine,
Juston Gill, and Patrick Segovia.