2013 Young Women of Distinction

2013 Young Women of Distinction

April 1st, 2013 in Chatter

Mei Li Zuber, Aliza Cohen, Alaire Gage and Savannah Clay

Photo by

Savannah Clay

Savannah Clay has a 3.98 average at Silverdale Baptist Academy and is a member of the Honor Society. Her history teacher terms her "a very impressive critical thinker" who has a true hunger for knowledge. Beyond academics, she has been a leader at her school in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and on the varsity softball team.

In the community she has participated in the On Point Leadership Teen Board, the YMCA Youth Trust Leadership program and the Rotary Youth leadership Awards conference.

Volunteer work has been Savannah's trademark. A chief focus has been the East Chattanooga Improvement program through which she has helped to provide leadership and direction for a challenging community in the heart of the inner city.

She also has been a volunteer for a tornado relief team, the Friendship Haven Nursing Home, and the Standifer Place Nursing Home. Quite active at the New Covenant Fellowship Church, she has served as a nursery volunteer and also has been a VoluTeen at Erlanger Hospital. Savannah has worked for two years at Aeropostale where she was recognized for good customer service.

Her nominator says that she is known for dedication, integrity, great leadership ability, speaking ability, people and communication skills, and good judgment. Her principal says, "The difference between Savannah and many other student leaders is that she leads so graciously."

Her softball coach adds, "Her work ethic is impeccable, her character solid and her natural leadership obvious."

Aliza Cohen

A four-year member of the Student Academic Council, Aliza Cohen is a member of Round Table, a campus ambassador and a peer tutor at the Baylor School. Also a National Honor Society member, she has enrolled in seven advanced placement courses and mastered two foreign languages.

Her nominator says that she is passionate about community service and serves as Baylor's Community Service Site Leader, the most responsibility-laden leadership position in the school's community service program. For four years she has devoted her afternoons to an area of high crime, gang violence and poverty overseeing the daily tutoring of at-risk elementary school children. She has worked with children in Harlem and in Jamaica, written three grants to provide activities for the Tubman Housing Project and established a scholarship fund at Re:Start, a center for Adult Education. Her college counselor notes that Aliza does not use such service as a resume builder but rather as her acknowledgement that "human dignity should be an inalienable right."

Active in the Mizpah Congregation, Aliza also is a talented musician and has been a member of the Chattanooga Youth Symphony and Orchestra.

A Baylor faculty member says, "Aliza's highly developed sense of social responsibility sets her apart, and her passion for working for others is an essential aspect of her everyday life."

Alaire Gage

Alaire Gage was elected president of her class for the ninth, tenth and eleventh grades at Red Bank High School and this year is serving as president of the student body. She was named the Head JROTC Sponsor and has been secretary of the Opti-Miss Beta Volunteer Club, sports editor for the school newspaper and two-year captain of the soccer team. Her principal tells of the 50 hours she spent last summer assisting in the renovation of Red Bank High School and of her service as the student voice for the Principal's Advisory Council.

Beyond her own school, through her church, Calvary Chapel, Alaire has served as a mission team member in Puerto Plata. At the Laughing Fox Farm she has spent hours attending malnourished horses, and at the Educational Humane Society she has assisted with animal adoptions. She also is a student helper for Young Life, volunteering for public schools in the Red Bank area.

Alaire ranks in the top 5 percent of her class, has been chosen for the National Honors Society and Beta Club, and has received several academic honors at her school, including the National Science Merit Award. A highlight of her academic career has been her senior capstone project which involved travelling to Nashville to study the working of state government.

The yearbook sponsor says, "Alaire Gage is every educator's ideal student." It is no wonder she was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" by her peers.

Mei Li Zuber

At Soddy Daisy High School, Mei Li Zuber distinguishes herself as a scholar. With a 3.93 GPA she has taken all the honors and AP classes available and made a perfect 36 on the reading portion of the ACT.

School activities include Student Council, marching band and pep band, and she has been inducted into the Beta Club and National Honor Society.

In the community she is a member of the Teen Advisory Committee for the Chattanooga Library and has volunteered as a camp counselor at the Chattanooga Nature Center.

Her talent in art has led to her to volunteering for face painting for special events in the community, and she works for Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Aquatics. On her own, she has befriended a family from Guatemala and tutored the children in English.

Soddy Daisy's Student Council adviser states that Mei Li's enthusiasm in the classroom becomes contagious to other students and notes her initiative in improving the quality of her community and her passion for personal and educational growth. As her nominator says, "Mei Li Zuber leads out ... she is truly a model and an example for many."

Young Women of Distinction Committee

Young Women of Distinction Committee Members Lynda Minks Hood, Patti Frierson, Lilli Wills, Dr. Mukta Panda and Rickie Pierce

Photo by