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Title sponsor James E. Moore Insurance Agency, the YWCA and more than 450 guests honored women and teen leaders from Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties at the Women of Achievement Awards on Thursday, May 22, at UNC-Wilmington.
“This 24th annual event not only acknowledges and honors extraordinary leaders in our community, it also serves as a primary fundraiser,” said Lois Cook Steele, YWCA executive director. “Through the generosity of our sponsors and guests, we raised much needed funds for the programs and services that we offer.”
“The evening was so wonderful,” said Health and Wellness recipient Mary Beth Koehler. “I was very overwhelmed by the honor.”
“This event is so uplifting and inspiring,” echoed sponsor Jennifer Caslin of NextMedia, Jammin’ 99.9 FM.
Arts Award recipient Sarah Levin, the performing arts educator at South Brunswick High School, received her B.A. in performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts and her musical education certification from UNC-Greensboro. Through her teaching, Levin ensures performing arts is a major element in the lives of young people and all students realize their potential.
According to the sponsors, she has an uncanny ability to motivate diverse groups of high school students in all of her productions; strives for perfection and provides memorable experiences for cast members of any age; a nd has had the superintendent of schools, South Brunswick’s principal and teachers participate in theatrical productions. Tickets are discounted if canned goods are donated. As a result, one ton of food was given to the Food Bank last year.
During the summer, Levin offers Camp Broadway (Home of the Stars), providing many campers their first experience in theater. She writes grants to cover scholarships for underprivileged minority children from single-parent families, who would otherwise not be able to participate. For four years, 10 full scholarships and stipends for three high school camp counselors have been funded. The camp has grown from one five-day session to three eight–day sessions. She created an “Ambassadors of Goodwill Show Choir,” which grew from volunteer class meetings to a full-fledged class where students give more than 30 concerts a year.
Before taking a teaching position, Levin toured for 10 years with Barry White and His Love Unlimited Orchestra, Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdinck as a musician playing the electric cello and bass guitar. She recently performed with Natalie Cole and Chuck Berry.
Brunswick County Young Leader recipient Saphyr Amrol-Davis, a senior at South Brunswick High School, ranks first in her class of 238, is a National Honor Society member, and has been accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State and UNC-Wilmington.
Amrol-Davis is one of three of her school’s Morehead-Cain Scholarship nominees and one of two N.C. State Park Scholarship nominees. She participated in Legislators’ School for Youth Leadership Development in 2003 and attended the EnviroTech camp at N.C. State in 2006. She is co-leader of her church’s youth group; youth representative to the Council on Ministries and the Contemporary Worship Committee; is co-captain for the women’s varsity tennis team, earning three varsity letters; was voted most likely to succeed by her classmates; and received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award.
She also volunteers at Paws Place Animal Rescue and helps with publicity for the shelter.
Other nominees from Brunswick County included: Rebecca Caldwell of Leland, director of CROSSROADS substance abuse prevention and education program and CARE (Collaboration for Assault Response and Education) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; Jamaye R. Despaigne of Leland, owner of Fusion Real Estate; Erin Marie Reilly, South Brunswick High School; and Brittany Stone, Bethany Marlowe, Jane Bellamy and Kenya Hewett of West Brunswick High School.
The YWCA Lower Cape Fear established the Cape Fear Women of Achievement Awards to recognize women and teens distinguished by notable achievements in their fields, exemplary service to their communities and schools and willingness to take leadership positions on issues that have an impact on the lives of people in southeastern North Carolina.
This program demonstrates the YWCA’s vision of empowering women, assisting them in achieving their goals and reaching their greatest potential.