Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
From playing with city orchestras to winning golf tournaments, these can-do kids continue to follow their dreams. We recently caught up with five students profiled here to get an update on their lives. Take a look.
This energetic 13-year-old lives by the motto, “Be inspiring every day in every way!” Last fall, Iyonia won the Miss Tennessee Jr. High School America 2013 title. And now, she’s promoting a platform that has personal meaning. Once a victim of bullying, Iyonia lends her voice to a national program, “The Crown C.A.R.E.S.: Creating a Respectful Environment in School.”
Iyonia volunteers with March of Dimes and mentoring program Little Divas in Training. She recently organized a fund-raising pageant to provide girls with free prom dresses. Her hours of work inspired Volunteer Midsouth to present her with the 2013 Youth Volunteer of the Year, Spirit of Giving Award. Gov. Bill Haslam also recognized her dedication by proclaiming Iyonia S. Boyce Day in Tennessee (June 25). Finally, her cheer team at Collierville Middle School won the UCA National Cheerleader Championship, High School Division.
This young golfer was our debut Can-do Kid in 2010. At the time, Bria was awaiting announcement of the Golf Digest Scholars Award for tuition to attend the Hank Haney International Golf Academy. She won that award and has maintained a 3.85 GPA at the academy while continuing to excel in golf. In 2011, she was the Women’s Golf Champion at the Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge. The 17-year-old supports youth through the Bria Sanders Foundation, which sponsors junior golf clinics and after-school science, technology, engineering, and math programs for middle school and high school students. • briasandersfoundation.org
In 2012, we met violinist Randall Goosby, who was eager to enroll at Juilliard to train for a professional career. Now the rising high school senior hasn’t long to wait; next fall, he’ll start preparing for Juilliard auditions. Major orchestras and conductors around the country have noticed his talent. In March, the 16-year-old was celebrated as Rising Star 2013 at the Key West Impromptu Classical Music Series. “He played a two-hour, very aggressive program with a pianist,” says his dad, Ralph. The same month, Randall performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony, for the first time playing every movement of Vivaldi’s concerto, The Four Seasons. Randall still commutes to New York City every weekend to study with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho. This summer, he returns to Perlman Summer Music School, then relax before preparing for auditions. “I’m lucky that I know what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he says.
As an actor and storyteller, Deidra Shores remains in the spotlight. The 16-year-old won a role in Standing Up, a cable TV movie that debuts this summer; and she played an extra in Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman. This month, she joins the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Kroc Center. A former kid reporter for Today Show and Action News 5, Deidra is gaining experience in print journalism as a writer for the Tri-State Defender.
This fall, Zachary joins the golf team at Oklahoma State University. A graduate of Memphis University School, he combined good grades and athletic talent to earn a full golf/academic scholarship. When we interviewed him two years ago, he was the top-ranked junior golfer in Tennessee. In 2012, he won the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, and then competed in the 2012 Tennessee High School Regional, winning both as an individual and as a member of the MUS team. His parents, Julie and Brad, are former college golf players. Zachary plans to turn pro and make playing golf his career.