LSU Hosts Six Louisiana 'Young Heroes'
BATON ROUGE- LSU welcomed six young heroes to campus on Monday, April 24 after the students were honored by Louisiana Public Broadcasting for their outstanding display of leadership, perseverance, integrity and service.
“The personal stories of our young heroes deliver a powerful message of perseverance and the expectation of serving others, recognizing that great accomplishments don’t happen alone, they happen with the help of others,” said Walt Holliday, Executive Director of the LSU Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes.
Chosen among students from grades 7-12, these six individuals join a group of nearly 200 previously honored heroes. As part of their celebration, Dr. DF Arnold, the Assistant Athletic Director of Player Development and Engagement for LSU Football, gave the winners and their families a tour of LSU’s football operations building. They were then shown a recruiting video presentation, and also met Head Coach Brian Kelly.
The winners ended their time at LSU with a visit to Tiger Stadium, where they could take photos, tour the locker room and meet Mike the Tiger. Following their time in Death Valley, the young heroes departed for the Governor’s Mansion, where another ceremony of celebration awaited them.
Even after spending only a few hours with the winners and their families, it was impossible to leave unaffected by their exceptional characters. Although these heroes are young, their roles in the community will be invaluable for the years to come.
“Leaders make decisions that are hard and sometimes uncomfortable,” Arnold said. These young heroes are the definition of pushing through, regardless of how uncomfortable it got for them.”
2023 Louisiana Young Heroes, from Louisiana Public Broadcasting press release:
Kaydence Bradford of Baton Rouge (Senior at Liberty Magnet High School) is hardworking and persistent, and when she’s not involved with school or public service, her primary responsibility is caring for and serving as a role model to her niece and two nephews. She has dedicated countless hours to planning, coordinating, and implementing initiatives to promote her school and help her community.
Canaan Hoosier of Deville (Junior at Buckeye High School) is a selfless young man that blazes his own path, in spite of numerous health challenges including autism, dyslexia, eye surgeries, autoimmune issues, and a sports injury that required him to learn to walk again. Through it all, Canaan has volunteered more than 600 hours during high school and is co-founder of EarthLove: an environmental outreach organization.
Lindsay McKinney of Baton Rouge (Senior at Franciscan High School) is determined to create the future she envisions, especially after financial hardships she and her mother faced. As Lindsay sees it, there are people who have helped her throughout her life, and she wants to pay it forward. Lindsay has volunteered at the Baton Rouge Food Bank, Children’s Hospital, and Sweet Olive Cemetery, and mentors younger students.
Nicholas Tarver of Many (Junior at Florien High School) has dealt with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and vision impairment since birth but it’s how he tackles these hurdles that is truly inspirational. His volunteer efforts have included serving as President of Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.) for Louisiana, working with “Wreaths Across America,” and serving on the National Board as Chairman of the Tomb of the Unknown American Revolutionary Soldier.
Kelsie Tillage of Baton Rouge (Senior at Southern University Laboratory School) has had to overcome a reading delay, speech impediment, and ADHD. Kelsie’s experience motivated her to become a teen writing coach. She also galvanized her school to donate over 1700 books to the Center for Literacy. Kelsie received the Gold Medal Congressional Award by accumulating over 400 hours of community service.
Vivienne Webb of Shreveport (Junior at Caddo Magnet High School) is active with Louisiana Developmental Disability Council’s Advocacy Network (LaCAN) as a disability’s rights advocate, is a Be Strong representative for her region, and she herself has autism, anxiety, and epilepsy. Through testimony at the Louisiana Capitol, Vivienne advocated for and helped obtain $2 million in funding for the lowest-funded Human Service Districts.