1/27/14 Student of Month finds time to volunteer

Untitled Document

Student of Month finds time to volunteer
By Rachel Teseneer, Times-News correspondent The Times-News 1/27/14  
Reprinted with permission.


   Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and for eighth-grader Khalia Watlington, being a role model is just part of everyday life.

   With days occupied with schoolwork any 13-year-old would expect, and weekends filled with attending fundraisers, Watlington somehow finds time to further benefit others. She spends quality time with children from kindergarten through 5th-grade at Grove Park Elementary School, reading books to them at respective grade levels.

   A cheerleading veteran of nine years, she also helps out at her own school, Turrentine Middle School, acting as a junior coach to young cheerleaders called Pixies. Watlington has been a junior coach since last year, and it was then that her grandmother, Sheila Stewart, recognized how much her granddaughter enjoyed being busy and involved.

   “I’m proud of her for all she does and still maintaining an A-B average grade,” Stewart explained. Stewart, who nominated Watlington, described her as not only dedicated to cheer and cheerleading competitions, through Young Champions of America (YCOA), a competition cheer team. Burlington’s YCOA won the state title on Jan. 19 and will go on to compete in Las Vegas, for the national title, in July.

   She said Watlington’s personality is “happy-go-lucky, polite and helping,” making it apparent that Watlington truly enjoys her lifestyle.

   Watlington said it is “fun to be busy and active,” associating part of her love for cheering to her love for her team, which is like a second family, and said that she enjoys reading and teaching to younger children because she gets along with little kids really well. She attends fundraisers year-round. Watlington’s penchant for serving continues into what she would like to do in the future. She aspires to be a veterinarian to fulfill her love for animals and her want to help in any way she can. With her smarts, dedication and good stewardship toward her community, Watlington, daughter of Jaime and Neal Watlington, is the embodiment of servitude and good prospects.

   Rachel Teseneer is a sophomore home-schooler and a Teens & Twenties writer.