Anticipation, nervousness, excitement…they were all over Hailey’s face on February 21st. We arrived at the a la Cart Pavilion in Tampa to attend the 8th annual WEDU Be More Awards which recognizes many of the unsung heroes in the local community including non-profits and other individuals who go above and beyond. Hailey was nominated and was a finalist for the Be More Inspiring: Rising Star Award because of all that she has done to help raise money for Livy’s therapies. It started back in November when we were told by Hailey’s principal who heard from her music teacher that he had heard from a friend about her nomination. To this day, we still do not know who nominated her but we are incredibly grateful. The guideline was that the nominees with the most on-line votes would be selected as finalists and then judges would decide the winner. This set off a flurry of voting from our family and friends. People could vote once per day. I was told that reminders were set and reoccurring appointments on calendars were created so as not to forget to vote each day. Thank you to all who voted!
After the voting was complete, we were ecstatic to learn that Hailey was a finalist! This meant we would be invited to the WEDU celebration where the winners would be named. None of us knew what to expect at this point so we got our tickets and prepared for the day. I had watched the video from the previous year’s award ceremony and I advised Hailey that she may want to write down a little something to say if she was lucky enough to win. She got right down to it and wrote a paragraph on note cards which she then rehearsed a handful of times. I am still amazed that at only 8 years old how comfortable and poised she is when she speaks in front of others. Credit that to her gifted program at school and to the times our family presents to her classmates or at disability conferences.