Future bright for outstanding Alabama teen

By KATIE GUERIN / Community Columnist

Mi’a Callens is a teenager that would make any parent proud.

She is an accomplished musician and dancer, an excellent student and someone who genuinely enjoys serving others and helping her community.

She is also Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen 2011.

While most teens spend their weekends hanging out with their friends, seeing movies and just relaxing, Callens and her family spent their weekends driving to St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Selma to help with the weekly music program for the congregation.

St. James, her father’s childhood church, did not have a piano player, and Callens is an accomplished pianist and didn’t hesitate to help the church members practice on Saturdays and perform on Sundays.

This routine continued for two years as the Callens family demonstrated its dedication to helping those in need.

Mi’a Callens, Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen 2011 and an Oak Mountain High School senior. (Contributed)

Cassandra Callens, Callens’ mother, noted the family motto is “children are like an investment and hard work is required to instill character and a desire to help others.”

Callens’ platform as Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen promotion of the Make-a-Wish foundation, inspired by Callens’ first cousin who was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 18 months.

Despite a full recovery, her cousin’s illness highlighted the importance of organizations that provide support and encouragement for those that are sick.

Callens raised money for the foundation through brownie sales that Oak Mountain High School’s home economics teacher, Rita Granger, helped support by allowing the utilization of the department’s ovens.

Due to this support, Callens has raised $11,200 for the foundation and plans to continue her work with the group.

Callens has not been a regular participant in pageants and only started competing about a year ago, but her vocal and dance talents made her a natural competitor.

She has been training with Shannon Denney and her staff at The Point Dance Arts.

Callens is also a talented vocalist and recently participated in a European Tour with the Alabama Ambassador Choir, nominated for the prestigious choir by Oak Mountain High School Choral Director Ed Cleveland.

The future is very bright for this young woman. She is the recipient of $103,000 in scholarship funds.

She has her pick of a full ride at the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Troy University, or a one-year scholarship to Jacksonville State.

Although she is still weighing her options for college, Callens plans on studying dermatology and broadcast journalism. She also has her eyes on the Miss Alabama pageant and one day she dreams of becoming Miss America.

Katie Guerin can be reached by email at katie.guerin@gmail.com.