Hoover High School
Mary, a senior at Hoover High School, was born with a neurological disorder called hydrocephalus, which is also referred to as “fluid on the brain.” She has spent much of her life in the hospital undergoing a total of thirty-nine brain surgeries. The condition started in utero and resulted in brain damage that affects her ability to learn in the classroom. Mary makes up for her lack of academic knowledge with her gifts of empathy and compassion.
Mary has devoted herself to advocacy for people with disabilities. She has become a sought after speaker for local schools, universities, civic groups, and advocacy groups throughout the state of Alabama. In 2018, Mary co-emceed the United Abilities Journey of Hope at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center. And she is already booked for many more speaking engagements in 2019.
In addition to public speaking, Mary hosts The Awesome Mary Show on YouTube, which is produced by NCPHAD, the National Center for Physical Health and Disabilities. Here is a link to two of her videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoWNenEObu0 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcBxF0iTJvY . In 2017, The Awesome Mary Show-Top 10 Reasons You Should Hire Someone with a Disability won first place in the APSE Journalism Contest, as well as a Silver Addy Award.
In 2016, she received the Inspiration Award by UCP of Greater Birmingham. In June of 2018, Mary received the Jeff Ridgeway Advocacy Award. This statewide honor recognizes individuals who are making a difference in Alabama by being advocates for people with disabilities. Mary was recognized with community service awards every year she attended Hoover High School, which included completing more than 300 community service hours in her senior year alone. She was also awarded the Finley Character Award in the 6th, 10th and 12th grades.
Mary’s achievements, awards, and community service accomplishments are far too extensive to include in a summary biography. Suffice it to say, she is a motivated and busy young lady who has her priorities in order.
During her freshman year of high school, she was “counseled” that college would not be an option for her. Mary disagreed. She was recently accepted into the ACCESS Program at Mississippi State University. She plans to become a public speaker and to work in the field of advocacy when she graduates.
For the application of her amazing talents and drive for the benefit of all, Mary is recognized by her school and our state as one of the five 2019 Young Heroes of Alabama.
The Young Heroes Program is made possible through the support of: