Katelyn Olivia Richard
Hoover High School
Katelyn Olivia Richard was nominated as a Young Hero by James E. Rotch, her mentor. Mr. Rotch is founder of The Birmingham Pledge, a statement of principles at the heart of a grassroots effort to eliminate racism and prejudice.
Rotch recalled, “I first met Katelyn and her mother, Misty Tipler, nearly two years ago when they approached me soon after the untimely passing of the executive director of the Birmingham Pledge Foundation, Wade Black. Their purpose in contacting me was to let me know that Katelyn had been working with Wade on some Birmingham Pledge projects and that Katelyn and her mother were available to step in immediately as unpaid volunteers to help fill the void created by the loss of our executive director.”
Katelyn is a member of Mount Olive Baptist Church, as well as a Relay for Life volunteer and team member. She has organized teen volunteers for benefits for Grace House Ministries. Katelyn reads to primary school children through the Birmingham Read program. And, as Mr. Rotch referenced, she is a Youth Ambassador for The Birmingham Pledge, championing advancements in race relations.
Katelyn belongs to the Diversity Club, the Future Business Leaders of America, the Multi-Cultural Club, and Undivided (a Christian student fellowship.) She was awarded the Finley Award for Outstanding Character both as a freshman and as a junior. The Finley Award is Hoover High School’s most prestigious student honor. Her other achievements and recognitions are many. In brief, Katelyn is truly an accomplished young lady.
Life was not always so positive. Katelyn and her younger brother are the children of a single mother who never received any child support. The family was forced to move several times as her mother transitioned from one job to another. These moves required Katelyn to go to new schools, make new friends, and adjust to new environments. To help the family, Katelyn used her love of gymnastics, tumbling and cheerleading to gain employment as a private tutor and as an instructor at several gyms.
She was not raised with the advantages of the majority of her classmates, but an outside observer would never know. Attorney Keith Brashier wrote, “There is a light that shines from within Katelyn Richard. She has a loving, empathetic heart, and her first instinct is to do whatever she can to comfort any individual who is hurting.”
Katelyn has not only persevered in the face of adversity, she has excelled. For all these reasons and more, Katelyn is recognized by her school and our state as one of the five 2017 Young Heroes of Alabama.