Katharine Church nominees honored to be chosen

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune
2021 Katharine Church nominees Carlie Del Signore, Virginia Breedlove and Sierra Hester pose for a photo on the front lawn of Keyser High School.

KEYSER - Recently, Keyser High School and the Keyser Rotary Club announced the nominees for the 2021 Katharine Church Award. This year’s nominees are Virginia “Gini” Breedlove, Carlie Del Signore and Sierra Hester, three very recognizable names and faces with resumes full of achievement in the classroom and on their respective playing fields.

The award is named in memory of the long-term musician, educator and community servant, and recognizes three senior females who have participated in high school athletics for at least two years, maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average or better, and served as a positive role model for underclasswomen and represented Keyser High School well.

All three of these outstanding young ladies fit the bill with their high academic achievements, participation in student government, membership in academic honor societies, and of course, achievement in their chosen sports and activities.

Gini Breedlove has been active in the Keyser Krazies and Student Council all four years of high school. In addition, Breedlove has played volleyball all four years and participated in track for three years. In volleyball, Gini was named All-PVC three years, All-Area in volleyball last year, and All-State volleyball honorable mention the last two years.

Breedlove’s 4.35 grade point average has qualified her as the Salutatorian of her graduating class. As such, she is a Goldsworthy Scholar, a Promise Scholar recipient, and has been named to a multitude of academic honor societies. In addition, Gini volunteers at her church, assists with stadium cleanups, and makes gifts for nursing home residents, and has helped raise money for and assisted many other charities.

Carlie Del Signore has been active in FFA, 4 -H, the Keyser Krazies and Student Council. In addition, Carlie has been a member of the softball and soccer teams, serving as a senior captain of both this year. She was the 2020 Soccer Player of the Year and 2020 Soccer honorable mention.

Del Signore’s 4.19 grade point average has qualified her as a Goldsworthy Scholar and she will be graduating number seven in her graduating class. In addition, she has consistently been on the honor roll and has been inducted into a multitude of academic honor societies. Del Signore has also been the recipient of the Aubrey Stewart Award of Excellence in 2021, and was elected Homecoming Queen in 2020. Additionally, Del Signore has an impressive array of volunteer activities on her resume and has contributed greatly to her community.

Sierra Hester has been active in the Key Club where she currently serves as president, and Student Council. She is currently her class historian.  In addition, Hester has been involved in cheerleading, track and gymnastics, where she helped bring home the PVC Championship three years in a row. Hester earned her varsity letter in both cheerleading and track.

Hester’s 4.13 grade point average has qualified her as a Goldsworthy Scholar and she will be graduating number nine in her graduating class.  In addition to being named to the honor roll consistently, Sierra has earned membership in a multitude of academic honor societies. Additionally, Hester has volunteered with stadium cleanups and on prom committee at school, in addition to assisting a variety of charities and events to serve her community in big ways.

This past week, Breedlove, Del Signore and Hester were asked to explain their thoughts on being nominated for the Katharine Church award.

First, each nominee was asked what it meant to them to be nominated for the Katharine Church Award. Each of course was honored, and then expressed their gratitude for being nominated alongside what they each consider to be such a high caliber of fellow nominees.

“My initial reaction was relief; I have always wanted to receive a nomination and was so grateful to hear that I finally made it,” Breedlove stated.

According to Del Signore, “My initial reaction to being nominated for this prestigious award was that I needed to call my mom and dad, I was so happy!

“I honestly never expected to be one of the top three nominees for this award because of how many outstanding girls met the qualifications. Carlie and I were called down to the office, and Gini was already there. I remember feeling ecstatic and a sense of relief because my nerves could finally settle down a little bit. I even teared up because I was also extremely happy for Gini and Carlie as well,” Hester explained.

Each young lady said that being compared to Katharine Church was an extreme honor and that being nominated was in fact a specific goal for them.

According to Breedlove, “Yes, it was a major goal to receive a nomination.”

“Ever since I became aware of this award my freshman year of high school, I have thought that it would be a great honor to be nominated and to be compared to Katharine Church, as well as categorized with similar traits and attributes as others I have seen nominated for this prestigious award,” Del Signore explained.

According to Hester, “Ever since I heard that girls had the same opportunity to be up for such a prestigious award, like how the boys have Ed Kelley, I knew I wanted to be up for Katharine Church. After hearing Katharine Church’s story I thought ‘how could I not want to be like her?’”

Each nominee was then asked what being a Katharine Church nominee meant to them.  One common theme was the fact that each nominee had looked up to prior Katharine Church nominees and winners as role models.

“To me, being nominated for the Katherine Church award is such an honor; I have looked up to the past nominees and the people surrounding the dinner my whole high school career,” Breedlove detailed.

According to Del Signore, “I have been impressed by my friends that have been nominated and some who have even won the Katharine Church award. Being nominated for the Katharine Church award means that I have received recognition for the hard work I have put into academics, athletics, and the time I have dedicated to community service.”

“Being nominated for Katharine Church means more to me than I could even describe in words. It made me feel like all my hard work over the last four years did not go unnoticed. Being up for this award has made me realize that you do not have to be the most athletic or the smartest because both of those things have little to do with your character and your kindness towards others,” Hester explained.

Finally, each nominee was asked to offer thanks and appreciation to those that have assisted them in their academic, athletic and just general success serving as a role model for underclasswomen.  A common theme was teachers, coaches, parents, and other role models.

According to Breedlove, “I thank my parents for helping motivate me to do better than average and to give things my all, as well as Caitlin Logsdon and Scott Furey for motivating and supporting me throughout my years of school.”

“As far as someone I felt was a role model that led to this achievement would definitely be Madison Anderson. I looked up to her in volleyball as well as the way she balanced college and high school classes with sports and other extracurriculars,” Breedlove detailed.

“When it comes to my athletic, scholastic, and other roles, in order to be a role model for underclasswomen, I would like to thank my coaches Chris Shoemaker, Colton Jones, Ritchie Thompson, Matt Everline, Dan Dawson, Jen Saville, Rick Twigg, and Kayla Hutson,” Del Signore explained.

According to Del Signore, “Teachers Caitlyn Logsdon, Coach Staggers, Mr. and Mrs. Piraino, and Chris Szafran, and lastly my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my sisters.”

“There’s so many people I want to thank because without their help and guidance I would have never even had the chance to be up for this award. God is the first person that comes to my mind because He has given me so many gifts and I could always turn to Him for guidance,” Hester detailed.

According to Hester, “I also have to give a big thank you to Mrs. Logsdon because she helped keep me on the right track. Coach Staggers has also made a significant impact on my life in the short amount of time I’ve had with him. He never lets me get down on myself, no matter how hard I try to.”

The annual Katharine Church dinner will be held this evening at the Keyser Moose Lodge.