Savvy's Amazing Teens
There are so many teens doing big things in Central Arkansas. From volunteerism to scientific research, disaster relief and more, they are impressive and sure to do big things in the future. Meet Savvy's reader-nominated Amazing Teens!
Chris Gay is a 15-year-old sophomore at North Little Rock High School where he makes As, and in his spare time enjoys playing golf and basketball. Chris also plays the trumpet in the band and is first chair. He loves giving back to the community. He assisted in building a ramp on East McCain for veterans, and recently renovated a community basketball court in North Little Rock as an Eagle Scout project.
Chris, son of Russell and Linda Gay, was nominated by Isaac Henry, special assistant to the mayor of North Little Rock, who aided him with his basketball court project. Here's what Henry had to say about this go-getter:
"Without a doubt, Chris Gay is an amazing young man. I met Chris when he was referred to me about an Eagle Scout project he was trying to coordinate to restore a basketball court in the city of North Little Rock. He did all the planning, and my only job was to provide the resources for him to get the job done. Chris planned the project for two months and when the day came to actually rejuvenate the basketball court, he showed up with 15 other scouts and they knocked the project out like champs. The Mayor came out and congratulated the boys on the awesome selfless job they were doing. Chris’ scout troop adopted the basketball court and a sign is now on both sides of the court to recognize all of their hard work."
Micaiah Roberts is a senior at Maumelle High School and honor student planning to attend Purdue University next year. She's originally from Watertown, NY, by way of the U.S. Army Base Fort Drum in New York, but has called Arkansas home for the last 12 years. She was nominated by her mother, Jacqueline Doss-Cola of Maumelle, who is so proud of her artistic, kind and clever 16-year-old. Here's what Mom had to say:
"Micaiah is kind, clever, creative and generous to a fault. Art is the air that she breathes! She started drawing when she was 2. In the fall she'll be double majoring in Anime Media Art and Art Education and minoring in Percussion. She's a phenomenal young lady who loves God, family and helping others. She has volunteered for the Central Arkansas Salvation Army North Little Rock Corps and was a member of Girl Guard. She also helps with the Marine Toys for Tots with Small Wonders, Inc. She is a published author and illustrator of two children's books, and is currently on her third season as a majorette for the Maumelle High School Band, "Marching Machine." She is the Tympani Player of the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra for three seasons, Arkansas Symphony Academy for the two prior seasons, and was the first female and African American to audition and make the "drum roll." My kid will be a great commodity to the world with her loving and compassionate nature, entrepreneurial spirit and amazing art."
Danaka Davis is a well-rounded teen with big plans for the future. She wants to study psychology at the University of Central Arkansas to build a career that will allow her to help people. She's an 18-year-old animal lover, artist, cheerleader, former Ms. Teen Vilonia, community volunteer and strong-willed girl who graduated at the top of her class from Vilonia High School. Her parents, Jeff and Michelle Davis of Vilonia, could not be more proud of their ambitious teen. Here's what Mom had to say about her:
"Danaka has a pure heart for helping others. She unfortunately suffered a minor back injury which kept her from cheering half of her senior year, but kept a positive attitude through her back treatments and continued to cheer for her squad and teams from the sidelines. She has been through two tornadoes that left major destruction in our little town. The first tornado hit our house while she was inside taking cover. She helped for countless days with clean up wherever she was needed. Her perseverance to push through tough times with a positive attitude is amazing. She is goal-oriented and has a smile that lights up any room and a heart of gold."
Hunter was born at 22 weeks and 5 days, and doctors told his parents, Brant and Mandy Hill, that he would not survive. After 94 days in the NICU, he was home and doing great. Doctors said Hunter would never walk or talk and would be mentally disabled; however, after being diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy, as a 15-year-old he has succeeded and excelled all expectations. Hunter was featured in Savvy's January 2015 special needs issue, and his mom assures us he continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Here's what she had to say about her amazing teen:
"Last year as an eighth grader, and without any help from a special education class, Hunter managed to maintain honor roll for the whole year and even made all As for the last nine weeks. He is a big part of the Poyen Junior High football team even though he can't physically play the game. He was asked to play in the last home game as a peewee in the sixth grade and scored two touchdowns. It was an amazing thing to watch as friends and family and even people whom we have never met watched and cheered him on. Hunter has always been a fighter and very determined young man. I truly believe without a miracle from God he wouldn't be here today."
ELIZABETH SOLLEDER & ASMSA'S NATIONAL PARK SERVICE VOLUNTEER TEAM
Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts is full of some of the best and brightest young minds in the state. A group of ASMSA students was recently recognized by the National Park Service for Outstanding Volunteer Service in Washington, DC. Under the direction of Dr. Lindsey Waddell, Research in the Park students work diligently within the national park, offering their time, working throughout the school year in a variety of scientific fields. From studying the bacteria of thermal spring water to identifying the insects currently present in the park's forests, the information and studies performed by these students offer insights into the changing ecology of the park. Team member Elizabeth Solleder's parents Shea Childs and Bill Solleder nominated their daughter and the team for their outstanding community service. Here's what they had to say about their 17-year-old academic and public servant:
"Last year, my daughter Elizabeth was chosen to receive the Pulse of the Planet Award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for her project questioning the potential dilution of the spring water. Each of these students' projects was well thought out, executed with precision and oftentimes published in peer reviewed journals. I applaud these amazing teens. Their energy and intellect is an asset to the future."