Service organization Hoover Belles for Girls recently held a mother-daughter luncheon for its senior graduates at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel and honored several for outstanding service.
The senior Belles who just graduated together have volunteered 1,691 hours of community service over the past two years — the second-highest total in Belles history, according to the Hoover Belle Committee, a group of women who help organize the activities of the Belles. The record was 2,071 hours by 2021 seniors.
Many new service opportunities have emerged due to the pandemic, including a virtual learning program offered by Riverchase United Methodist Church for children in kindergarten through fifth grade whose parents were both working. The Belles contributed to this program for six months, volunteering nearly 500 hours.
Last summer, the Belles served nearly 400 hours at children’s summer camps offered by Aldridge Gardens, and this summer, the Belles have pledged to spend more than 720 hours helping out at those camps.
The Hoover Belle with the most community service hours was Aanya Noorani, who volunteered 187 hours with the Belles and worked 57% of the Belles’ service events over the past two years.
In addition to the Hoover Belles events, Noorani has been involved in a number of other service projects, such as leading the Spain Park High School blood drive for two years and, as a Girl Scout, developing a teen mental health site that has won multiple national awards. price. In all, Noorani contributed 337 hours of service during his middle and high school years. The Hoover Belle Committee awarded him a scholarship for his hard work.
The committee also awarded Carys Gonzalez its Kim Milling Memorial Merit Scholarship for being Hoover Belle’s most exemplary graduate.
Gonzalez had 143 hours of community service with the Hoover Belles, plus overtime outside of the Belles. Other factors considered for her scholarship were her ACT score, GPA, and an essay she wrote about community service.
“When I joined the Hoover Belles, I knew little about serving my community,” Gonzalez wrote in her essay. “Other than a few volunteers here and there, I didn’t feel connected to those around me. One of the key lessons I’ve learned from my many hours of volunteering with the Belles is that I matter to those around me, and…my community is integral to my well-being as well. From summer camps to distributing food, I’ve helped so many, and they, in turn, have taught me about myself, about the world around me, about empathy.
The Hoover Belle Committee has also awarded two Spirit of Hoover Belles awards to girls who have exhibited particularly exemplary qualities and character traits over the past two years. Those awards went to Lydia Plaia and Ella King.
Plaia was almost always the first to volunteer for events, many of which were casually dressed and involved more work than the events where the girls wore their pre-war dresses, according to the Hoover Belle committee.
Plaia has been outstanding in the virtual learning program for children at Riverchase United Methodist Church, playing an instrumental role in helping students with computer applications and questions, the committee said. She loved working with children who were struggling academically and making them feel like they could do more than they thought they could, the committee said.
King demonstrated perseverance in all aspects of his community service and worked beyond the minimum number of hours required, the committee said. She has contributed greatly to many less fun events, including writing many thank-you notes for the Hoover Helps organization, the committee said.
In all, 36 Hoover Belles graduates were honored at the April 30 luncheon. Girls head to many colleges and universities to study various fields:
Auburn University: Ava Burke (elementary education); Maddie Cain (interior design); Jamison Erwin (fashion marketing); Elizabeth Etheridge (pre-pharmacy); Ella Fuller (chemical engineering); Bella Huynh (hotel management); Ella Jordan (psychology); Kiley Marett (accounting); Eva Marston (pre-pharmacy); Phedra Peter (chemical engineering); Hannah Ray (nursing); Ava Rector (secondary education or speech therapy); Emilee Turner (Global Studies); Maggie Williams (nursing); Julia Wright (music education).
South Birmingham College: Katie Hart (pre-nurse).
Loyola University: Rosalie Sullivan (psychology).
Mississippi College: Ella King (history and cybersecurity).
Mississippi State University: Mary Cooper Bearden (educational psychology); Claire Dillard (interior design); Mallie Eron (company).
Rice University: Aanya Noorani (biochemistry and molecular biology).
Samford University: Ellie Everett (journalism).
Southeastern University-Highlands College: Olivia Sasser (Christian Ministries).
University of Alabama: Georgia Anderson (communications); Jillian Gray (public health); Mary Kyle Kilgore (marketing); Abby Pate (finance/marketing); Riley Sandford (psychology); Claire Stansell (nursing).
University of Alabama at Birmingham: Emily Cuthbert (public health); Carys Gonzalez (chemistry); Emily Hofmann (nursing).
University of Mississippi: Lydia Plaia (nurse).
University of North Alabama: Mary Batchelor (nursing); Catherine Stark (marketing).