South Charlotte

Charlotte Catholic senior strikes Girl Scout Gold Award

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Ali Buck, a senior at Charlotte Catholic High School, has been awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve.

Buck, 17, set out to improve middle-school girls’ participation in activities at church. She worked with St. Matthew Catholic Church in Ballantyne and spent a year planning a weekend retreat for girls in grades six through eight.

The Aug. 31-Sept. 1 retreat, which drew 29 girls, was themed “One Word” and had girls take part in activities related to the acronym ROCK, Buck said.

Four sessions taught the girls about relationships, overcoming, community and “kontinue,” Buck said.

Activities included sending handmade bracelets to Haiti, hearing from guest speakers, and outdoor adoration, in which the older girls prayed for their younger peers, a session Buck said she enjoyed the most.

“I want them to know their faith will be their rock in middle and high school,” she said. “I want them to know they could turn to God and their friends from the retreat.”

Buck conducted a survey of the participants, most of whom she said gave positive responses. “It went really well,” she said. “I wouldn’t change anything.”

Buck’s goal is to make the retreat an annual event. She will help her fellow seniors plan the annual retreat for the high school students this year.

Buck said she was happy to receive her Gold Award. “It’s a big achievement,” she said.

Future Medical Leaders

Abby Walker, a sophomore at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, has been nominated to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, D.C., in November.

Walker, 15, will join students from throughout the country in hearing Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science winners discuss leading medical research and learn what to expect in medical school.

“It seems like a great opportunity,” Walker said. “I’m excited to receive the education.”

The congress is an honors-only program for high school students interested in a career in medical research or in becoming physicians.

Walker said she enjoys researching neurodegenerative diseases and one day wants to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon or neuroscientist and work with those with spinal injuries. “I want to help people regain their ability to walk,” she said.

Dr. Connie Mariano, medical director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists, nominated Walker to represent East Mecklenburg High based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine, according to a news release.

Walker’s mother, Laura Walker, said she is proud of her daughter.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity,” Laura Walker said. “If Abby is even remotely considering being a physician, this will open her eyes to what that really is.”

Joe Perdue Scholarship

Matthew Rodgers, senior at Johnson & Wales University, recently was selected as one of five recipients of the 2014 Joe Perdue Scholarship.

The Joe Perdue Scholarship, established by The Club Foundation in honor of Joe Perdue, a longtime educator and proponent of the club management industry, provides tuition assistance for students pursuing careers in club management, according to a news release. The Club Foundation has awarded 177 student scholarships totaling $320,000 since its inception.

Rodgers, 21, is studying culinary arts and food-service management with a concentration in food and beverage management.

Meeting President Obama

Garland Denny, an 83-year-old Navy veteran, met with President Barack Obama on Aug. 26, when Obama was in Charlotte during the recent American Legion convention.

“It was a nice surprise to receive that,” said Denny.

Denny has campaigned for increased funding for veterans’ services, according to a news release. Congressman Robert Pittenger arranged for Denny to meet the president at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Among Denny’s proposals is a commemorative postage stamp to help raise money for veterans’ service organizations, according to the release.

Military news

• Air Force Airman Felix A. Carbajal graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio.

Carbajal is the son of Hugo M. Carbajal and Miryan C. Consuelo of Easton, Pa., and grandson of Anibal Carbajal of Keniworth, N.J. He is a 2009 graduate of Independence High School.

• Army Spc. Taylor M. Curtis has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. Curtis is the daughter of Kathy and Paul Curtis of Charlotte. Curtis is a 2009 graduate of South Mecklenburg High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 2013 from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.

• Army Pvt. Andre M. Owens has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga. Owens is the son of Gwen L. Blackman of Brooklyn Park, Minn., and brother of Andrea Owens of Charlotte.

• Air Force Airman Dillon E. Poole graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Poole is the son of Alfonso and Rebecca Siguenza of Charlotte. He is a 2013 graduate of East Mecklenburg High School.

• Air Force Airman Joshua A. May graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. May is the son of Raymond R. and Rita S. May of Charlotte. He is a 2013 graduate of Providence High School.

• Air Force Airman Kendall K. Clanton graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Clanton is the son of Kimberly Clanton of Pineville. He is a 2013 graduate of Phillip O. Berry High School.