James Clemens High School
Joshua Wortham is a senior at James Clemens High School in Madison, Alabama. Joshua has a 4.04 GPA. He was selected to represent the United States at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and for the International Youth Leadership Peace Summit and he’s been published in an International Educational Peace Journal.
Joshua has been part of the band for all four years of high school. He received the “Freshman Musicianship Award” and “Junior Service Award” and lettered as only a freshman. Joshua earned multiple awards and distinctions in music and band, including making the All-State Band, All-State Orchestra, Honor Bands at multiple universities, and Superiors at Solo and Ensemble. He is also the pianist for his high school mixed choir. He served as a counselor for his band’s summer music camp and as a youth intern for the Madison City Youth Orchestra. Joshua also served in the Student Government Association and was inducted into the National Honor Society.
Joshua serves his community in many ways. He started his own bakery, Peaceful Pastries and Sweets, when he was 10 years old in order to pay his way to Peacebuilder’s Camp. His bakery grew into a full-fledged, licensed LLC and now serves multiple cities in North Alabama. This feat earned him the “Youth Entrepreneur of the Year “award in Alabama. Joshua donates cookies to local non-profits as well as through his “Coexist with Cookies” campaign for mental health advocacy. He also volunteers as a fill-in pianist and trumpet player for area churches and organizations.
Joshua and his siblings were home-schooled for many years because of medical catastrophes within his family. His parents, both public school teachers, found it more convenient to educate their children at home while traveling to and from various hospitals. One of his brothers was diagnosed with HSP Renal and hospitalized or on chemotherapy for several months. Another brother was born with Global Cerebral Atrophy and other special needs. Joshua’s mother underwent major surgery, he lost multiple family members during and after Covid, and his father endured two suicide attempts and subsequent comas with months of treatment. For this reason, Joshua and his family are fierce advocates for mental health awareness and erasing the stigma associated with suicide.
Joshua transitioned back into public school as a freshman. That same year, he suffered a medical emergency during Algebra class and within hours, he was in the emergency room being diagnosed with a brain tumor. He ultimately underwent major brain surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center to remove a Colloid Cyst in his left ventricle. He missed much of his freshman year while recovering from the surgery and isolating during Covid.
Joshua’s long lists of achievements and the many challenges he faced helped shape him into a humble, determined and compassionate person. For his service and commitment to his family, his community, and school, Alabama Public Television is proud to recognize Joshua as one of the five Young Heroes of Alabama for 2023.
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