Shelby Nurse, a senior at Countryside High School, is anticipating another season as a competitive cheerleader for the Florida Top Dog All-Stars. The group placed third in the nation at a recent competition in Atlanta.
"Being our first year, it was a big deal for everyone," she said. "We had a lot of fun, and made it a lot of fun. By having a disability, I never thought I would be a cheerleader."
The 17-year-old Clearwater resident also served as a mentor to more than 60 of her peers during the Florida Youth Leadership Forum in Tallahassee. The annual event is hosted and co-sponsored by the Able Trust and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council.
"Coming to YLF was one of the most important experiences of my life, and by returning, I felt honored to serve as a mentor to the new participants," said Ms. Nurse.
Born with cerebral palsy, Ms. Nurse joined a growing network of young people with disabilities who have attended YLF and used their experience to inspire them to attend college, vocation training and employment.
The workshop helped her identify goals for her own life.
"I have a very personal goal for this school year; to walk across the stage during graduation with my walker and receive my high school diploma. I also plan to go to college, get married and have children someday."
She intends to obtain a degree from St. Petersburg College, then attend Florida State University to pursue a degree in pediatric speech pathology or child psychology.
"Even though I have a disability, it is only a very small part of who I am," said Ms. Nurse. "I don't introduce myself to someone and announce I have a disability. I introduce myself as Shelby, and that I love music, I am pursuing goals in life, and one day will live on my own. My disability does not dictate who I am."
Andersons mark 50 years together
Dick and Kay Anderson of Safety Harbor celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Hiawassee, Ga., with family and friends.
The couple met in high school and married July 19, 1958.
He retired from IBM, and is a commercial real estate broker.
She works at Espiritu Santo Catholic School, Safety Harbor.
Both are members of Espiritu Santo Catholic Church.
They enjoy attending USF football games and keeping up with their grandchildren's sporting events.
The couple have three children and six grandchildren.
Religious awards go to 3 Girl Scouts
Three Girl Scouts were recently honored in the God and Country religious program.
Senior Scouts Melissa Dodge and Melissa Thomas, both of Palm Harbor and Ambassador Girl Scout Troop 1115, received their third God and Life awards for students in ninth through 12th grade; and Dunedin resident Sarah Olson, of Cadette Troop 1321, received her first God and Church award for students in sixth through eighth grade from Senior Pastor Cliff Melvin and their counselor, Andrew Rodnite.
To earn these awards, a curriculum workbook must be followed, along with daily Bible reading. In addition, the girls participated in numerous service projects within their church and community.
Gas System worker honored for service
Clearwater Gas System employee Manny Pandelos was named the 2008 Donald L. Napier Natural Gas Operating Person of the Year during the Florida Natural Gas Association's annual Marketing and Operations Conference in St. Augustine.
"Manny is dedicated to providing truly outstanding and responsive customer service and support while working with underground repair, on-site inspections, and group training," said Tom Sewell, Clearwater Gas System's operations director.
The award is presented annually to a gas industry employee who exemplifies exceptional customer service and a "can-do" attitude to go above and beyond the usual job tasks.
To submit an item , write to Nova Beall, 710 Court Street, Clearwater, FL 33756. Fax to (727) 445-4119 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Good For You includes news of 50th wedding anniversaries, people celebrating their 100th birthday (or more) and young people's noteworthy achievements academically, in the arts or community service. For more information, call (727) 445-4221.