Ashley Askins | Young Hero Award from Alabama Public Television

Ashley Askins

Cherokee High School

Cherokee, Alabama

A natural leader, Ashley Askins is described by band director Kyle Clements as a top notch flautist and color guard captain. He wrote, “She has helped a line of ladies accomplish a high level of excellence and superiority at various competitions.”

Ashley’s willingness to help others was echoed by teacher Ben Renfroe: “Ashley is selfless in that she eagerly helps fellow students who may be struggling. She treats all of her teachers with the utmost respect; thus, she is highly respected by the entire faculty at Cherokee High School.”

A person meeting this self-assured and selfless scholar might find it difficult to believe the hardships she has already endured. When Ashley was born, her parents were young, unmarried, high school dropouts who were not prepared to raise a child. Ashley’s parents have been separated practically her whole life.

As an infant, Ashley was raised by a family married into her own. She lived with this family in Michigan until the age of eight. One day, her mother decided she could try and raise her, so she packed all of Ashley’s things and drove to Tennessee. Shortly after, Ashley found herself was being raised by yet another woman who was also taking care of her three younger sisters.

Ashley’s mother returned two years later hoping for another chance to raise her in Mississippi. That ended two years later. Ashley and her younger sisters were put into foster care until the extended family came to take them home. Ashley went to Alabama with her grandmother, and her younger sisters went back home to Tennessee.

While was still under the care of her grandmother, Ashley was moved to live with her great-grandmother, whom she calls “NeNe”. Nene was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease and needed help. Ashley has been Nene’s caregiver for the last four years. She is responsible for organizing and administering medications, the household chores, most of the outdoor chores and preparing some meals.

Ashley’s grandmother stays with Nene while Ashley is at school. After school, Ashley goes straight home to resume her caretaking duties. She rarely has time to go out with friends or participate in after-school activities. The one exception to this general rule is band.

Despite these adversities, Ashley has persevered and excelled. Her nominator, Counselor Julia Gray, wrote, “She has a strong moral character and is a natural leader. She has organized and been responsible for several projects that have helped others in need. She has plans to attend college and pursue a career in business and marketing.”

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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