Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Two local high school seniors are already accomplishing big things at a young age. Baylor School’s Logan Davis and Girls Preparatory School’s Sarah Shaw, both of Signal Mountain, are being honored with the American Lung Association Young Woman of Distinction Award.
They will accept the award at a luncheon April 27. This annual event benefits the American Lung Association in Tennessee and its mission to prevent lung disease and promote lung health.
The criteria for the award includes: honor, integrity, enthusiasm, generosity, compassion, a willingness to take risks and a personal dedication to goal achievement.
Davis spends many days after school overseeing tutoring in the Harriet Tubman Housing Complex —one of the spots where gang-related activity sometimes takes place. But she said she has no fear while working diligently to help young minds rise to their full potential. Reading and math are the focus.
“We [Baylor students and inner-city students] want the same things,” said Davis, adding that all students being tutored want to achieve. “We expect the students to graduate from high school and college. Setting a level of expectation is important because it shows them that we care.”
As Baylor’s student leader of the community service program, Davis also takes her classmates to various sites to tutor students. Baylor students play word games and multiplication games with the elementary students.
As a freshman, Davis ran cross country, but said she wanted something more fulfilling in life. Then-Baylor student Elin Bunch, who has since graduated, reached out to her to invite her to join in community service. Since taking on community service work, Davis has traveled to Asheville, N.C., to stay in a homeless shelter three times to help paint the rooms and move residents into the shelter.
“It’s very eye-opening to see the homeless world,” said Davis. “There is someone at the shelter that graduated from Baylor that due to a series of unfortunate events ended up homeless in Asheville.”
As co-chapter president of the GPS Habitat for Humanity project, Shaw helps build homes for people in need.
“My parents taught me at a young age to give back,” she said. “At age 5, I helped build a Habitat house in Fayetteville, N.C. I remember it was something I was interested in even at that age. The University of North Carolina built 14 Habitat for Humanity houses last year, so if I enroll in UNC, I will offer to help.”
This school year, she and fellow GPS students assisted McCallie boys in building three houses, two on Curtis Street and one on Olive Street in downtown Chattanooga. GPS has assisted McCallie in building more than 15 homes over their years of partnership.
“I want to help people,” said Shaw. “Through Habitat I can help those in need. If I become a politician, I would like to create policies to establish a system where poverty is not as prevalent.”
She helped raise $20,000 this year for Habitat through Robin Hood Day, a carnival on the tennis courts, and the Habitat Roses Program, where parents buy roses to go on a girls’ locker for Valentine’s Day, she said.
Shaw said attending GPS has taught her time management skills, since she juggles so many different projects. Currently, she serves as a senior officer with the Key Club, which assists the Northside Neighborhood House, Chattanooga Area Food Bank and Chattanooga Literacy Program. She also heads up the GPS National Honor Society tutoring program, matching 40 students with NHS tutors. She serves as co-captain and coxswain of the GPS Rowing Team as well. She said she has learned to organize her many activities, but also to delegate responsibility to others.
Aside from tutoring and helping the homeless, Davis said she also enjoys helping orphans in Kingston, Jamaica annually at an orphanage for disabled children. She will make her third trip to Jamaica this summer.
Through her many volunteer efforts, she said she has realized that she would like to be a psychiatrist.
“So many people don’t have someone to talk to,” said Davis. “Forming relationships is important. You are there [in community service] to be a friend to them.”