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Charleston named Spirit of Upward Bound award winner

LINDEN-Throughout her academic career Janie Charleston has been no stranger to honors. Lately she added two more to her collection.

At Tuesday’s Linden City Council meeting Councilmember Mitzi Gates announced Charleston as the winner of the Spirit of Upward Bound Award.

“In addition to teaching English at UWA I also get the privilege of acting as Academic Coordinator for Upward Bound, which is a high school enrichment program for 78 college bound students in a three county area,” Gates said. “I am delighted to announce that Janie Charleston, who is a senior at Linden High School was recently named the Spirit of Upward bound Award winner.”

Charleston was chosen for the award from a pool of 78 students in eight area high schools. Gates said she was chosen for the award because of her dedication to academic excellence. She was also recognized by her peers to represent the school as Miss LHS.

“Janie embodies the spirit of Upward Bound by valuing learning for the reward of learning and embracing the ideals of academic excellence and by exhibiting characteristics of outstanding leadership,” Gates said. “Janie was also named Miss Linden High School last week.”

Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in pre-college performance and ultimately in higher education pursuits. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rates at which participants enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

The Spirit of Upward Bound Award is the highest honor given by Upward Bound. Charleston said she was very emotional when her name was announced.

“I was pretty surprised,” Charleston said. “I was so happy I felt like crying, but I was happy.”

During her high school career Charleston has led a very busy life and it has paid dividends. She has won academic awards with Upward Bound, serves as president of the Drama Club, vice president of the Beta Club, Student Council Representative, secretary of the Digital Technology Club, treasurer of her senior class and also attended the Riley Leadership Forum in Montgomery.

Charleston has also been a varsity cheerleader for four years and was named an All Star. She will cheer in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on Jan. 2.

Following high school Charleston said she plans to attend college where she will pursue a career in science.

“I plan to attend Alabama A&M and become a soil scientist,” Charleston said. “My granddad deals with agriculture and he grows plants and farms. It seems like it will be a fun career.”

Charleston, who is in the top five of her senior class, said college is something she has looked forward to for years.

“I am really excited about college,” Charleston said. “I have been waiting on it since tenth grade.”

Charleston said she plans to continue her education after college as well. She said she would someday like to add the title of chef to her many accomplishments by attending culinary school.