Anna Wilson | Young Hero Award from Alabama Public Television

Anna Wilson

Chilton County High School

Clanton, Alabama

At the age of eight, Anna Wilson received a terrible injury. Her older brother accidentally discharged a loaded firearm, and it struck Anna. After entering the right side of her skull, the bullet crushed her C2 and C3 vertebrae and became lodged in her spinal cord. Doctors were able to save her life, but the injuries were severe. She had to relearn how to talk and, after long and grueling rehabilitation, she is now an “incomplete quadriplegic” and uses a wheelchair.

Anna has not let this tragic accident and its aftermath hold her back. Through hard work and dedication, Anna has earned a 4.00 grade point average and will be honored as Valedictorian of her class at graduation in May. Over time, the impact of her own experiences has expanded to a vision of continued advocacy efforts for children and adults dealing with physical and intellectual disabilities. She plans to study mechanical engineering so she can design devices and medical equipment to improve the lives of others.

From school supply drives to feeding and clothing the homeless, she has amassed an inspiring amount of community service hours. At school, she participate in many clubs and organizations, including Honor Society, Beta Club, Spanish Club, Computer Club, and SADD. The principal of her school, Dr. Cynthia Stewart, wrote, “Anna is a personable young lady with a great sense of humor. She has chosen positive influences which have strongly impacted not only her life, but all those who know her.”

Anna was nominated as a Young Hero by her counselor, James T. Taylor. He commented that all she has overcome is only part of the story. “I am excited to see what the future holds for Anna… By just being herself, she shines and is a beacon of light to all those fortunate enough to be in her presence.”

Melissa Nixon, the student development coordinator at the University of Montevallo, said, “Anna’s resilience, spirit and heart are heroic!”

Perseverance, a strong spirit, and high achievement despite the setbacks of a tragic accident – for all these qualities, Anna Wilson is recognized by her school and our state as one of the 2014 Young Heroes of Alabama.

Young Hero Sponsors

The Young Heroes Program is made possible through the support of:

Derek Chen

Harris Trust


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These educational programs and services of Alabama Public Television made possible by the generous support of the following contributors:

Community Events & Engagement
  • Books-A-Million, Young Heroes
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama, Be My Neighbor Day/Young Heroes
  • Brookmont Capital Management, Young Heroes
  • C. W. Daniel Charitable Trust, Young Heroes
  • Medical Properties Trust, Young Heroes
  • Fred Rogers Productions/PNC, Be My Neighbor Day
  • WNET-CPB, Sesame Street in Communities
General Support
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
  • Public Broadcasting Services (PBS)
Learning Adventures
  • Alabama Bicentennial Commission
  • Alabama Humanities Foundation
    a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Alabama State Council on the Arts
    a state program of the National Endowment for the Arts
  • American Graduate
    a program of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Daniel Foundation of Alabama
  • Malone Family Foundation
  • Robert Meyer Foundation
  • Sybil Smith Foundation
  • Troy Univiersity
  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center
  • Wells Fargo Foundation
Media Library
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting, American Graduate
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting, American Graduate, Getting To Work
PBS Kids Programs
  • Alabama Department of Human Resources
  • Alabama Power Company
  • Books-A-Million
  • Children’s of Alabama
  • HEAL Alabama
  • Medical Properties Trust
  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Professional Development for Educators
  • Community Foundation of South Alabama, PBS KIDS EdCamp
  • Sybil Smith Foundation, PBS KIDS EdCamp
Workforce Development
  • CAWACO, Career Forward
  • Southeast Alabama Works, Career Forward

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