“I have been a part of Saraland since elementary school. I grew up dreaming of being an Azalea Trail Maid and I became an Oakleigh Bell instead. I led house tours and represented the more historical side of Mobile. I am a member of DAR, Daughter of the American Revolution. There aren’t many people my age involved, but we are trying to preserve history. I love working with the older women. This summer I am the head lifeguard at the pool in Chickasaw.
In fourth grade, I met a girl who was deaf. I wanted to be her friend, so I learned sign language from apps on my phone. A small act of kindness can turn days around. I lost hearing in one of my ears. I don’t know why. I had surgery and went on to competitive swimming and got a hearing aid. My friends call my bad days bad hearing days and tell me to turn the aid up. People think I am rude because I don’t make eye contact, but I am trying to read lips. My friends and my school have been very supportive. My favorite Bible verse is Psalms 30:5: ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’
I fell in love with helping others and giving back to my community. I have volunteered with the Raise the Roof project when I was too young to get on the roof, but helped those putting roofs on houses. Every Sunday we went to church, ate lunch at Cracker Barrel and then I volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and making beds and cleaning rooms for people I never meet. I did Youth Leadership Mobile and have volunteered at Goodwill Easterseals Camp ASCCA since 2011 with my family. Last year I won a trip to Washington D.C. with students from around the country. I got to change the preconceived notion of Southerners for a few of them who had never met someone from the South or experienced the way we treat people. Southern hospitality is a real thing.
I made masks for healthcare workers and nursing homes during the Coronavirus. I started sewing in 5th grade. My nana lived across the street and she sewed. I wanted to be just like her so I got a cheap sewing machine from Walmart. I broke it making masks and got a better machine. I am proud of the volunteer work I have done. It also led to the Poarch Creek Community Scholarship. I am going to Auburn and just found out I won that scholarship that is $9,372. That helps out a lot.
I want to be a lawyer and specialize in family law and adoptions. I know it pays much less than the others. I will live in a one-room apartment and eat ramen noodles as long as I can be there for other people during difficult times in their life. I have a passion for Alabama’s education system because we can do so much better to educate our kids. I went to one of the best high schools in Alabama and our textbooks were out of date. One day I want to be the governor of Alabama and help fix our state.”
A story from Anna’s mother:
This past Mardi Gras my husband, me and Anna went to a reception at the Mobile Museum. Anna spotted this lady sitting by herself. Anna looked at me and her dad and said, “That lady is by herself, I’m going to talk to her.” My husband and I looked at each other and we both said that we hadn’t even noticed the lady sitting by herself. Anna went over to her and started talking. She invited the lady to come outside with us to catch beads. We found out she had just moved here. After the parade, the lady thanked us for letting her join us. She said it was so much better with us and she hugged all of us. She and Anna became friends on FB and Anna invited her to the Oakleigh Mansion when Anna would be giving a tour. That is Southern Hospitality.. going somewhere where you don’t know a soul and somebody befriends you and welcomes you to our city and shows you what it has to offer.”