Community service

Community service project helps cancer patients | New

ASHLAND A Boyd County high school student honors the late Julie Ditty Qualls with a community service project.

Sydney Kinnel, 17, daughter of Wayne and Tara Kinnel of Ironville, attended the Governors Scholar Program at Morehead State University in July. For her community service project, she crocheted 10 beanies and donated them to the Julie Ditty Qualls Foundation in memory of Qualls, who was her tennis coach; Kinnel was part of Ashland’s junior tennis team for two years.

“He was a great coach,” Kinnel said. “I learned so much from her in just the first year.”

Kinnel learned to crochet out of boredom.

“About two years ago, I just wanted to learn something new,” she said. “It was during COVID and I had knitted with my fingers before, so I looked on Pinterest.”

At first, a beanie took about six hours, but she said that once she got the hang of it, she could finish a beanie in four hours.

“When Julie first got sick, the tennis group prepared a gift basket and I made a beanie for her,” Kinnel said. “When she died, I thought I would continue like this.”

She donated the caps to her late tennis coach’s widower, Josh Qualls, who will ensure they reach a breast cancer patient.

Her concern for cancer patients is unsurprising, given her focus on health care during the Governor’s Fellowship program.

“I plan to go into health care,” she says. “I would like to be a traveling nurse for a while after school and later be a surgical first assistant.”