By MATT CRANE
After only a year in Starkville, C.J. Gibson is making her mark in the community.
Gibson was recently nominated to attend the 2012 Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. by her fifth grade teacher, Sandra Gillespie.
‚ÄúShe is such a wonderful student,‚ÄĚ Gillespie said. ‚ÄúShe‚Äôs enthusiastic about learning and very adventurous.‚ÄĚ
Gibson moved with her family from Missouri this time last year, an experience Gibson said was difficult at the start.
‚ÄúIt was hard at first, but I‚Äôve made a lot of friends,‚ÄĚ Gibson said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs been a great journey.‚ÄĚ
Gibson said she was surprised to be nominated, but Gillespie said she knew there was something special about the student.
‚ÄúIn her first nine weeks, she was in our ‚ÄėHenderson‚Äôs Best,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Gillespie said. ‚ÄúAs much as this honor deals with academics, they really stress teamwork and citizenship, which C.J. has showed in the classroom.‚ÄĚ
Gillespie said Gibson‚Äôs family has been vital to her success in school.
‚ÄúHer parents and sister are such huge supporters,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs just an honor and a privilege to work with her.‚ÄĚ
Kayla Gilmore, owner of KMG Creations, teaches dance to Gibson and said she could not be prouder of her student.
‚ÄúC.J. has been with me for almost a year, and it‚Äôs such an honor to be a supporter,‚ÄĚ Gilmore said. ‚ÄúShe‚Äôs really shining a great light on our school district and community.‚ÄĚ
Gilmore said she pushes her students to excel academically, requiring every student to maintain a B average to join her group.
‚ÄúI want my students to do well in school,‚ÄĚ Gilmore said. ‚ÄúBut I think most importantly it‚Äôs about building up their self-esteem, especially our young females.‚ÄĚ
Family and school officials gathered Monday at the Starkville Sportsplex to hear Mayor Parker Wiseman deliver a proclamation in Gibson‚Äôs honor.
Wiseman said he is proud of Gibson for the positive light she is shining on the Starkville community and excited about her representing the city at a national level.
Henderson Principal Timothy Bourne said he saw Gibson‚Äôs potential from the beginning.
‚ÄúI knew she was going to be a great kid,‚ÄĚ Bourne said. ‚ÄúShe‚Äôs a model student.‚ÄĚ
Gibson begins the week-long conference Friday where she will take part in educational activities and presentations, studying about the importance and impact of leadership in our nation‚Äôs history.
The trip to Washington, D.C. marks Gibson‚Äôs first visit to the capital, and she said she is excited about seeing the historic sites the city has to offer.
‚ÄúI really want to go to the Washington Monument,‚ÄĚ Gibson said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs my favorite.‚ÄĚ
To read more about the conference Gibson will be attending, visit http://www.cylc.org.