VMHS 2019 valedictorian feeling at home in Tuscaloosa
By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist
When number one and University of Alabama are mentioned in the same sentence, most people think Crimson Tide football. In this case, number one describes Mia Datcher a graduate from Vincent Middle High School, the valedictorian of the 2019 graduating class.
Currently, to play on words, she is riding the wave! Datcher’s hard work and dedication earned her just short of a full scholarship at Bama. Interestingly, while Datcher is the first in her family to go to college, she comes from a large family of Auburn fans. War Eagle!
“I never expected to apply to UA since my entire family cheers for Auburn, but that changed when I had the opportunity to go to Girls State,” said Datcher.
Each year, during the summer, the American Legion sponsors Alabama Girls State, a premier youth leadership program giving the attending delegates one of the most coveted learning opportunities in the state of Alabama and the United States.
Held on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s best and brightest young women spend a week developing leadership skills in addition to the foundational understanding of the governmental process.
Datcher earned this honor by recognition of her teachers and the administration at VMHS. “Mia was always a focused student and a quiet but effective leader. She was a key member of our JROTC Leadership and the 2018 Academic Bowl competition in Washington, DC. It was no surprise she was selected as our school’s representative for Girl’s State that year,” said Major Stan Murrell, JROTC instructor.
“I never felt so empowered as when, encouraged by friends I had just made, I ran for the auditor position. Even though I knew nothing about being an auditor, it was the fact that I built up enough courage to speak in front of 400 plus girls,” said Datcher. “That event was significant and prepared me for my valedictorian speech.”
“It was a wonderful experience and it allowed me to explore my options, meet new people and ultimately change my entire perspective about the University of Alabama,” said Datcher.
Well, the “Tide” came in for Datcher. She was the recipient of over $80,000 in scholarships making it affordable to live in one of the more prestigious dorms where each student has their own bedroom and shares a bathroom with only her roommate. Nice!
“VMHS is proud of Mia’s effort during her academic career here. She had many opportunities to represent our school and now we are proud to see her continuing her studies,” said Dr. Michele Edwards, principal.
Datcher is also a graduate of Youth Leadership Shelby County. “We learned the importance of giving back and that even small acts of kindness can be extremely beneficial,” she said about the program.
Today, Datcher is studying nursing and in pursuit of a BSN degree. Ultimately, she would like to work in the surgical field. “I have never felt so impacted by the array of faces and the safe environment here. I made the right choice in UA,” said Datcher. #Vincent Strong! Roll Tide!
Kathy Copeland is a community columnist for the Vincent/Harpersville area.