Marcie Allen of Deridder has overcome a devastating three year-period during which she had to be treated for a chemical deficiency, survived a near-fatal auto accident, the death of her grandmother and the loss of her home because of a fire. After months of physically therapy, Marcie is back playing basketball and an excellent student.
Mathew Burroughs of Haughton has not let Spina Bifida keep him from becoming an outstanding student, an Eagle Scout and the sixth-ranked wheelchair tennis player in the country.
Eighteen-year-old John Henry Jones of Anacoco was abandoned by his mother and his father died when he was nine years old. Despite a learning disability, he has competed in the Louisiana State Literary Rally and been the captain of his school's Quiz Bowl team. In spite of his own family's financial problems, he has helped collect coats, non-perishable goods, and school supplies for the less fortunate in his parish.
Candace Kaufman of Slidell was seriously injured in a car wreck involving a drunk driver that killed her mother and another passenger when she was three. She lost an eye and suffered brain damage in the accident. Despite predictions that he she would never progress beyond second grade, Candace will graduate this spring. She also tells her story to her fellow students to show the danger of drunk drivers.
Jody Keith of St. Rose is a gifted student who survived a near fatal accident when he was three and was removed from the home of his alcoholic parents. A mathematical all-star, Jody tutors his fellow students, is a student mentor and cleans the sanctuary at his church.
Brittany Monet Parker of Bueche is an outstanding student and athlete at St. Joseph's Academy in Baton Rouge. Recently named Junior Miss YMCA at the State YMCA Scholastic Pageant, she helps care for her mentally handicapped brother and volunteers for activities for mentally handicapped adults and senior citizens. When her mother developed meningitis, she ran their household and took care of her brother.
Shelly Ronzello of Mandeville has battled bipolar disorder, thyroid problems and an unsettled home life, but is still an outstanding student and leader at Cabrini High School in New Orleans. Her mother left when she was a sophomore and she has lived with a guardian since then. She is a member of St. Vincent de Paul, the Sierra Club and The Extra Mile, a service club that helps the mentally disabled.
Breanna Spivy of Bossier City has overcome more hardships in her 12 years than most people face in a lifetime. She was seriously burned when she was two months old, losing both feet and suffering severe damage to her left hand. When her mother realized she couldn't provide the care Breanna needed, she was adopted by Allen and Elaine Spivy. After 17 surgeries, Breanna uses prosthetics to participate in sports, school and church activities. She has won numerous honors in the Games Uniting Mind and Body (G.U.M.B.O.) Games and was named Bantam Athlete of the Year in 1998 and is an inspiration to everyone who knows her.