Elizabethton students named to Appalachian Highlands Twenty Under 20 Class of 2021

Published 4:25 pm Monday, March 29, 2021

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KINGSPORT — STREAMWORKS presents the 2021 Appalachian Highlands Twenty Under 20 Awards which celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of twenty individuals who are younger than 20 years of age. These superlatives have demonstrated exemplary achievements in community service, entrepreneurialism, leadership, academics, and STEM activities. A virtual awards ceremony is scheduled to be streamed live from the beautiful campus of East Tennessee State University on May 29, 2021, at 7 p.m.
2021 Twenty Under 20 Recipients
Izabella McQueen, 15, Elizabethton High School
Izabella plans on pursuing a career in the medical field. She is the Vice President of Key Club, and a member of student government, HOSA, Jazz Band, Gaming and Japanese Club, the Betsy Band, and the Betsy Color Guard. She was also the recipient of the prestigious Thomas Alexander Dugger Jr. Leadership Award. She enjoys cross stitching, knitting, reading, writing, stepping out of her comfort zone, and playing three instruments.
McKendra Norris, 18, Elizabethton High School
McKendra plans on attending East Tennessee State University to major in business management with a minor in legal studies on the pre-law track. After she completes her undergrad, she plans on attending the University of Tennessee School of Law, where she wants to focus on real estate law. She is a successful small business owner and exemplifies leadership at her high school. She is the Student Body President, National Honor Society President, Key Club Treasurer, and Yearbook Business Manager. She enjoys playing varsity basketball and soccer, real hot yoga, and traveling.

Nikolas Barnett, 17, Dobyns-Bennett High School
Nikolas is interested in politics, corporate business, and law, and he looks forward to traveling the world. Nikolas was a United States Senate Page for Senator Alexander and is a member of the Y.E.L.L. Kingsport Mayor’s Youth Council. At his high school, he is a member of Beta Club, Scholar’s Bowl Team, and the
Dobyns-Bennett Marching Band. He enjoys playing the piano, hiking, practicing French, and volunteering in his community.
Rachel Bentley, 16, D-B Excel
Rachel plans to have a career in criminal psychology. She played a crucial part in the Electronics Design and Construction for her multi award-winning MATE team, volunteered for three years at Habitat for Humanity, has had her work showcased in multiple art shows, is a proud STEM educator and supporter of women in STEM, and has fundraised for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Rachel enjoys playing instruments, painting, sketching, being outdoors, and camping.
Maxwell Brown, 18, South Greene High School
Max will be attending Milligan University in the fall to double major in music and biochemistry. While he has so many options to choose from for a career with the biochemistry major that he has not decided yet, he is sure that he wants to be a concert pianist alongside his main career. Max is the Valedictorian of his graduating class and a National Merit Commended Scholar with an ACT score of 35 and a SAT composite score of 1560. He was also a cross country state qualifier this past year. He enjoys running, reading, writing, and playing piano.

Robby Burchett, 19, Black Hawk East Junior College
Robby is majoring in agriculture production technology and meat science with the hopes of becoming a USDA Meat Inspector. He is a member of the Livestock Judging Team at his college, and is the 2019 Virginia Farm Bureau Youth Agriculturist of the Year, 2019 Virginia 4H and FFA State Livestock Judging Champion, 2019 National Livestock Judging Champion in Sheep/Goat, Virginia FFA Champion Parliamentary Procedure as well as individual FFA Overall High-Scoring Champion, 2018 Virginia 4H Livestock Judging Team Reserve National Champion, 2018 Presidential Youth Volunteer of the Year, 2018 Southwest Virginia Agriculture Youth Volunteer of the Year, and more. Outside of all of his accomplishments, he also enjoys playing golf and baseball, roping, fishing, kayaking, and camping.
Jacqueline Byers, 19, University of South Carolina
Jacqueline is currently attending the University of South Carolina with the plans of becoming a pharmacist. She is a recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award and the Summit award, which makes her one of the first (if not the first) to achieve the highest rank in Girl Scouts, Venture Scouts, and Scouts (BSA). She was also in the first class of female youth inducted into the Order of the Arrow. In high school, she was a proud member of the Dobyns-Bennett Marching Band, who went on to become the 2018 Class AAA National Champion at Bands of America Grand National Finals and she marched in the 2020 Rose Parade. She enjoys baking, watching Netflix, and spending time with friends.
Pierce Byers, 17, Dobyns-Bennett High School
Pierce plans on majoring in aerospace or mechanical engineering with the hopes of serving our country as a pilot for the United States Air Force. He is an Eagle Scout and another proud member of the Dobyns-Bennett High School Marching Band, and was also a member when they brought home the title of 2018 Class AAA National Champion at Bands of America Grand National Finals in 2018 and he also marched in the 2020 Rose Parade. Pierce is also a member of the Cyber Tribe, which was named the 2020 FIRST Robotics Palmetto Regional Champion. Pierce also enjoys playing tennis, scouting, and watching movies.
Erin Colhoun, 18, Dobyns-Bennett High School
Erin will be attending Auburn University in the fall to major in natural resource management. Her ambition is to research how human activity impacts the environment and to discover ways to remedy the damage that occurs. She is a Beta Club officer, a member of the National Honor Society, and a 4-year Varsity Golfer, including being the team captain this season. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, and just being outdoors in general, along with doing watercolor and ink drawings.

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Sarah Grace Garland, 17, David Crockett High School
Sarah plans on attending East Tennessee State University to major in public health and pre-medicine. She plans on attending Quillen College of Medicine to focus on pediatric healthcare with the goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist. Sarah is a 16-year cancer survivor, an all-American varsity cheerleader, and the reigning Miss Appalachian Fair and Miss David Crockett High School. She went on to represent the fair at the Tennessee Fairest of the Fair pageant this past January. She is a member of the Youth Fair Board, HOSA, Hiking Club, Chess Club, and French Club, and is an officer in the Civinettes High School Civitan Organization. Her hobbies include scuba diving, travel, cheer, and yoga.
Sam Garcia, 19, East Tennessee State University
Sam is majoring in chemistry with a minor in culture and health. His ambition is to become a pediatrician. Sam was a part of the Leadership Kingsport team called “Working for a Fresh Start” that won a service grant in the 1st Annual ETSU Elevates Grant Competition. He is also ETSU’s 2020 Outstanding Fraternity New Member of the Year, a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Recipient, and one of just 8 ETSU Roan Scholars in the Class of 2023. He has been on the Dean’s List every semester since coming to campus, has served as Vice President of Recruitment for Sigma Phi Epsilon, and is a graduate of Dr. Brenda White -Wright’s Emerging Leaders Academy. He enjoys weightlifting, snowboarding, and playing with his dog, Gus.
Hannah Griffith, 16, Homeschool Student
Hannah aspires to be a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur. She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, a 2019 and 2020 recipient of the Gold Level President’s Volunteer Service Award and was involved in Duke University’s Talent Identification Program. She is a third-degree black belt in taekwondo and an assistant instructor of taekwondo at Olson’s Martial Arts Academy. She enjoys volunteering with children’s ministry, martial arts, playing guitar, arts and crafts, architecture, hiking, and reading.
Conner Hall, 17, Dobyns-Bennett High School
Conner looks forward to majoring in chemistry and minoring in mathematics. He hopes to pursue a career in likely the medical or engineering field, as he is very interested in STEM. He is an All-State French Horn Player, scored a 34 on the ACT, a 1500 on the PSAT, was elected as a Representative for both the D-B Sophomore and Junior Student Council, and is an aspiring Eagle Scout. He enjoys band, swimming, playing golf, traveling, and spending time with his friends and dogs.
Caitlyn Ison, 19, East Tennessee State University
Caitlyn is majoring in elementary education with the goals of becoming an elementary school teacher and high school guidance counselor. She is a 2-time Dean’s List honoree, a Governor’s Seal recipient, and the reigning Miss Sullivan County. She will be competing for the title of Miss Tennessee this summer. She enjoys crocheting, choreographing lyrical praise dances, and playing the piano.

Cindy Jones, 18, Johnson County High School
Cindy plans on majoring in rehabilitative health sciences with a minor in health sciences. Her ambition is to pursue a career in physical therapy. She is a licensed CNA, President of the Johnson County Student Council, member of the National Honor Society, member of the yearbook committee, and recipient of the Paul T. Everett Christian Service Award. She enjoys fishing, photography, hiking, running, and volunteering in her community.
Lauren Lewis, 18, John S. Battle High School
Lauren plans on attending the University of Kentucky to major in economics with the ambition of becoming a supply chain manager. She is an AP Scholar with Honor, and a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council Association, and Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee. She has had perfect attendance throughout middle and high school, has a 4.0 GPA, and has hosted a blood drive through Marsh Regional Blood Center. She enjoys yoga and managing her high school’s basketball and football teams.
Eliza Sanders, 17, Sullivan South High School
Eliza plans on getting her bachelor’s degree in dance and eventually her master’s degree so she can become a collegiate dance instructor. She was selected as the captain of her school dance team and for musical theatre, is a two-time Universal Dance Association All-American, was selected for the Governor’s School for
the Arts Dance Program, and was a youth choreographer for a community theatre program that is offered to at-risk and underprivileged students. At her high school, she is also the Student Council Media Chair and a member of Beta Club. She is the reigning Miss Historic Greenville’s Outstanding Teen, and just placed 2nd Runner-up at Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Competition. She is also a member of the Y.E.L.L.! Kingsport Mayor’s Youth Council, a Student Ambassador for Imagination Library, the Youth Programs Ambassador for the Isaiah 117 House, and the organizer of The Smile Project. Her hobbies include dance, theatre, traveling, spending time with friends, and creating social media content.

Lindsey Seay, 18, Rye Cove High School
Lindsey looks forward to majoring in elementary education with a minor in music. Her ambition is to become an elementary school teacher. She is a Tennessee/Virginia Scholar, AIMS Scholar, Honor Student, and is dually enrolled at Mountain Empire Community College and Linwood Holton Governor’s School. She was a member of the All District Junior Symphonic Band, All District Concert Band, All District Senior Symphonic Band, and All County Band Showcases. She was also selected for the ETSU Honor Band, Lee University Honor Band, Virginia Tech Honor Band, Emory and Henry Honor Band, and was selected to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She has been a member of Jenkins School of Dance for 15 years. Lindsey enjoys music, dance, art, and hiking.
Zoie Stout, 17, Unicoi County High School
Zoie aspires to be an occupational therapist. She established a club at her high school, is a certified nursing aide and varsity cheerleader, participated in a state HOSA competition, and is a volunteer at the Unicoi County Child Care Center. She is also the reigning Miss Johnson City’s Outstanding Teen and just competed at the Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Competition. There, she was the Social Media Influencer Award winner and placed in the Top 5 Teens in Action for her community service. Zoie has hosted and directed four benefit fashion shows to raise awareness and money for Cerebral Palsy, raised $350 through a flash fundraiser at her high school for the Children’s Miracle Network, and helped raise over $1,100 in scholarships for the Miss Tennessee Foundation. She enjoys pageants, cheerleading, learning sign language, Young Life, and modeling.
Emma True, 18, Dobyns-Bennett High School
Emma is currently wanting to pursue a career in education. She is a drum major in the Dobyns-Bennett Marching Band, where she marched in the Rose Parade, played in Carnegie Hall, and earned a National Class Championship. She is also a member of the Tri-Cities United Soccer Club, where she has played soccer at the local, state, and national level. At Dobyns-Bennett, she is the president of Natural Helpers, team manager of the Scholars’ Bowl Team, and a diver on the Dive Team. She is also a member of the Y.E.L.L.! Kingsport Mayor’s Youth Council and serves as a mentor to elementary students in the Dobyns-Bennett YES Club and in the Beta Club. She also has an ACT score of 34. Her hobbies include being active in her church youth group, running, Chick-fil-A, and napping!

Seeing extraordinary students do extraordinary things, STREAMWORKS works to ensure these 20 individuals are recognized for their innovation and leadership in their communities and schools. Beyond the recognition of these students, this initiative will spotlight the critical necessity of STEM education throughout the Appalachian Highlands Region. Furthermore, these 20 individuals will serve as ambassadors in their communities and set the example of personal excellence for other youth to model.
For more information about the Appalachian Highlands Twenty Under 20 Awards, please visit www.streamworks20under20.org.
About STREAMWORKS: The mission of STREAMWORKS is to create Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) initiatives that are designed to promote rigorous STEM activities and competitions in our community. STREAMWORKS is changing student’s lives by cultivating and nourishing grass roots efforts to establish an environment of critical and innovative thinkers which will foster a future workforce dedicated to fulfilling critical skills gaps in hi-demand technology career fields. One avenue STREAMWORKS utilizes to fulfill these goals is through the establishment of robotics teams and competitions over a variety of STEM disciplines. For event sponsorship opportunities, please email dcourtney@streamworkseducation.org.