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October 24, 2014

Meet St. Clair’s Distinguished Young Women

Program is June 21 at Springville High School with nine contestants

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Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:16 pm

The Distinguished Young Women of St. Clair County Scholarship Program will be held June 21, at 6:30 p.m., in the auditorium at Springville Middle School.

This year’s participants in the scholarship program include Anna Caroline Adkins, Kasey Gamble, Taylor Golden, Brooklyn Graff, Katlyn Moorer, Keighan Spann, Brooke Walker, Sarah Wilkes and Tori Williams.

Anna Caroline Adkins

Anna Caroline Adkins is a junior at Moody High School. She is the 16-year-old daughter of Ronnie and Melissa Adkins of Moody. She has an older sister, Elise, who is 21. 

“My sister Elise was the 2011 St. Clair County Jr. Miss,” Adkins said. “I learned about the program through her and her experiences. I have also been a Little Sister for four years.”

For her talent, Adkins will perform a technical baton routine to Big Noise from Winnetka by Dutch Midler.

“I have been twirling for eight years, and I am the majorette captain for the Moody High School Band,” Adkins said. 

“It is always something that I have worked hard at to be successful.”

Adkins said the other participants are all really sweet.

“We are having such a good time learning our routines together,” Adkins said. “I have made some sweet friendships that will last a lifetime.”

Adkins’ Little Sister is Amanda Carpenter from Moody.

After high school, Adkins plans on attending either Auburn University or the University of North Alabama to major in elementary education.

Kasey Gamble

Kasey Gamble is a junior at Victory Christian School in Pell City. She is the 16-year-old daughter of Keith and Katrina Gamble of Pell City. 

She has two older sisters, Kayla, 24; and Megan, 19.

She got involved in DYW last year as she was the Little Sister to Savannah Smith.

“I have made a lot of friends doing this,” Gamble said. “It’s a lot of fun, and we’ve learned a lot of routines. They have pushed us in to order to make us better people.”

For her talent, Gamble will perform a cheerleading jump and tumble routine from a medley of songs.

“I have been a cheerleader since I was 7, and it is really what I am good at,” Gamble said.

Gamble’s Little Sister is Allison Wheeler from Talladega who attends Victory Christian.

After high school, Gamble wants to be a cheerleader at the collegiate level, and then go into the medical field.

Brooke Walker

Brooke Walker is a junior at Crossroads Christian School in Moody. She is the 17-year-old daughter of Alan and Kelli Walker of Ashville. She has an older brother, Daniel, 20.

Walker found out about the DYW program through several of her friends who had competed in years past.

“It sounded like a really good program,” Walker said. “Good for scholarships and good for community involvement.”

For her talent, Walker will play the piano. Her selection is “Scherzo in D Minor” by Cornelius Gurlitt.

“It’s a classical piece,” Walker said. “It’s like a fast pace bunch of runs up and down the keys along with some traditional waltz.”

Walker said she is so happy she met the other girls in the DYW program.

“At first, I didn’t know any of them,” Walker said. “Now, we are all friends and they are a sweet bunch of girls. It is really cool to meet new people.”

Walker’s Little Sister is Hannah Nielsen, a student at Crossroads Christian School.

Once she graduates from high school, Walker plans on attending the University of Mobile to earn a degree in psychology.

Sarah Wilkes

Sarah Wilkes is a junior at Moody High School. She is the 17-year-old daughter of Judd and Angie Wilkes of Moody. Wilkes has two brothers and a sister; Palmer, 22; Anna, 13; and John, 11.

Wilkes learned about the DYW program while in the seventh grade. She has been a Little Sister on two different occasions in years past.

“I enjoy this program,” Wilkes said. “To me, this is one of the best groups of girls I have seen in this program. They are all very talented.”

For her talent, Wilkes will sing a theatrical number a cappella titled “Taylor, the Latte Boy.”

“I heard this sung live,” Wilkes said. 

Wilkes’ Little Sister is Anaika Cayton, a freshman at Moody High.

Once she graduates from Moody High School, Wilkes plans on attending Auburn University to major in theatrical arts and minor in education.

Brooklyn Graff

Brooklyn Graff just completed her junior year at Moody High School. 

She is the 17-year-old daughter of Robert Graff of Pell City and Leigh Bowling of Leeds. She has one brother, Austyn, 20; and one sister, Lauryn, 15.

Graff found out about the DYW program a couple of years ago when one of her friends, Kelsey Smith, was in the program.

“She invited me to go to the program,” Graff said. “It is a very great program. There are opportunities for scholarships. It also gives me the opportunity to meet some nice girls who will potentially be my friends for a lifetime.”

For her talent, Graff will be doing a jazz dance to the song “Rockin’ Robin.”

“When I was growing up, I always danced,” Graff said. “I always find joy in dancing, whether it is slow, fast or traditional.”

Her Little Sister for the program is actually her biological sister, Lauryn Graff.

“That is so neat, and I’m glad she agreed to do it,” Graff said.

After she graduates from MHS next year, Graff plans on going to the University of South Alabama in Mobile and become a dermatologist.

Taylor Golden

Taylor Golden just completed her junior year at Springville High School. She is the 17-year-old daughter of Dewayne and Angie Golden of Springville.

Golden found out about the local DYW from a friend four years ago.

“Ever since, I have wanted to be a part of it,” Golden said. “I am so glad I have had this chance to meet these other eight young women. They are super and wonderful.”

For her talent, Golden will dance a jazz routine to “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley.

“I love old music, especially from the 50s,” Golden said. “Elvis is my favorite artist and ‘Burning Love’ is my favorite song.”

Golden’s Little Sister is Kristen Jones, who also attends Springville High School.

Once Golden graduates from high school, she plans on attending Auburn University where she will major in optometry.

Katlyn Moorer

Katlyn Moorer just finished her junior year at St. Clair County High School in Odenville. 

She is the 17-year-old daughter of Earnest and Latresa Franklin of Odenville. She has one brother, Joshua, 10; and one sister, Ashley, 7. She and her family moved to Odenville about a year ago.

Moorer said she found out about the DYW program after reading about last year’s winner in the St. Clair Times newspaper.

“Being around these eight other girls has been so nice for me, since I have only lived here a year,” Moorer said.

For her talent, Moorer will be painting.

“My dad and I have always enjoyed art,” Moorer said. “I have been painting since I was a little girl.”

Moorer’s Little Sister is Chealsa Twamley.

Once she graduates from high school, Moorer plans on attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham and major in pre-dentistry.

Keighan Spann

Keighan Spann just completed her junior year at Pell Ciy High School.

She is the 17-year-old daughter of Jonathan and Megan Spann of Pell City. She has an older brother, Zach, 24.

Spann found out about DYW last year when she was asked to be a Little Sister to one of her best friends, Katie Roe.

“I really love the program,” Spann said. 

“I’ve been able to meet a lot of nice girls. This program has impacted my life and has helped me so much. Mrs. Kathy Soltis and Mrs. Debbie Gossett have done such a great job with the program.”

For her talent, Spann will be singing, acting and doing a small dance to the musical theater piece from the musical “Chicago,” “I Can’t Do It Alone.”

“I am involved with the theater program at Pell City High School,” Spann said. “I have always loved theater, musicals and dramas. Chicago has always been one of my favorite productions.”

Spann’s Little Sister is Breanna Harris, a student at Pell City High School.

Once she graduates high school, Spann plans on going to Troy University to earn a degree in collaborative education with specialization in hearing impairment.

Tori Williams

Tori Williams just completed her junior year at Ashville High School. 

She is the 16-year-old daughter of Fredrick and LaTonya Williams of Ashville.

Williams found out about the DYW program when the reigning DYW Lindsey Spruiell and DYW board member Carol Hornsby were at Ashville High School one day to recruit participants.

“It is an honor to be around these other participants,” Williams said. “They all have a great spirit, they are good people and the DYW is such a great program. I am just honored to be in it.”

For her talent, Williams will recite a poem by Maya Angelou called “The Phenomenal Woman.

Williams said Angelou is a well-respected writer.

“I thought it was appropriate for the program, especially to be our best-self in all that we do,” Williams said.

Williams’ Little Sister is Clayton Cato, a student at Ashville High School.

Once she graduates from Ashville High School, Williams plans on attending Troy University to earn a degree in business. She wants to be involved in health care management.

Distinguished Young Women, formerly America’s Junior Miss Scholarship Program, is sponsored by the City of Mobile, Mobile County, 

Encore Rehabilitation, SPANX, Wintzell’s Oyster House, Mobile Gas-A Sempra Company, Regions Bank, Alabama Power Foundation and Master Boat Builders. 

The 56th National Finals will take place in Mobile June 26, 27 and 28, 2014. For more information about Distinguished Young Women, visit www.DistinguishedYW.org.

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