Joanna Smith | Young Hero Award from Alabama Public Television

Joanna Smith

Lamar County High School

Vernon, Alabama

JoAnna is a senior at Lamar County High School. One of her nominating teachers wrote, “JoAnna is one of the most conscientious and hardest working student I have ever had.” She keeps her grades up, maintains a good attitude, never complains, and serves as an officer in numerous clubs and honorary societies. At the same time, JoAnna carries an heroic amount of responsibility. JoAnna’s mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when JoAnna was in junior high school. In 2004, her mother regressed drastically. JoAnna bathed her, fed her and sometimes just lay beside her as she slept. When JoAnna was a sophomore, her mother succumbed to a fatal heart attack. One month prior to the death of her mother, JoAnna’s father learned that both of his kidneys were shutting down due to diabetes. Still in mourning, JoAnna became her father’s caregiver, driving him to the doctor, seeing to his nightly dialysis treatments, cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, holding down a job and attending school. JoAnna’s father passed away shortly before the 2007 Young Heroes were announced.

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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