God has put something noble and good into every heart which His hand created.
—Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)
Fifteen hundred LDS a youth met together in a Birmingham to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Church in Great Britain. The crowd poured into the city’s ice rink for a morning of skating, followed by lunch and an afternoon of dancing.
Youth from at least 30 stakes from Scotland to Cornwall, from Wales to the East Coast met new friends and renewed old acquaintances.
Nicola Bunting of Wolverhampton commented, “I met so many friends. It was a lovely day. We’d certainly enjoy getting together like this more often.” Her dad, John, who acted as master of ceremonies throughout the day said, “With the majority of youth in this country coming from small wards and branches that are limited in teenagers and young adults, it’s marvellous for them to feel there are many other Latter-day Saints around.”
Birmingham police who were supervising the crossing of busy roads reported they’ve never seen a crowd of youngsters behave so well. Bishop Robin Gray of Sutton Coldfield said, “Unfortunately, British youth groups in excess of 400 have a bad name for trouble. Our young people excel in good manners and orderly behavior.”
After lunch, with energy levels still high, the youth headed for the dance floor, where the entertainment was provided by Church members. Liz Wilkins’ group and David Shepard’s Where’s the Beach (an appropriate name for singers from central England) raised roars of approval from the audience.
As the day drew to a close, final messages echoed across Birmingham streets, “Don’t forget to write. … It’s been great meeting you. … Hope you can come again.”
Heidi Muffett of Beavercreek, Oregon, received the Good Citizen award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was also serving as senior class vice-president when she was awarded the Elks National Leadership scholarship.
In addition to her accomplishments in academics, Heidi enjoys sports. She was voted most valuable player on her volleyball team.
Heidi is a member of the Colton Ward, Oregon City Oregon Stake.
Andrew Pickering of the Lancaster Ward, Columbus Ohio East Stake, has participated on several types of bowl teams. He is a member of his school’s Knowledge Bowl team. He is also a member of his regional seminary bowl team.
Andrew is a member of National Honor Society and maintains high grades. He was invited to take college courses while still in high school.
He has served as first counselor in the priests quorum in his ward.
Jackie Thompson, 12, of Willcox, Arizona, was selected as the unanimous winner in the under-18 category of a talent contest sponsored locally. Jackie is a talented fiddler. He enjoys performing and has used his talent both in Church and in the community.
Jackie enjoys sports, including playing Little League baseball and water sports. He is a member of the Willcox Ward, St. David Arizona Stake.
Mike Harrison of Baker, Oregon, loves sports of all kinds. He enjoys fishing and horseback riding. He plays on his school’s football and basketball teams. And he holds the record in his junior high for the 1,500 meter in track.
Mike also serves as president of the student body of his junior high school. With money earned from a paper route, he bought his own computer and made a program to help his little brother with math.
Stephen Oak of the Corvallis Second Ward, Corvallis Oregon Stake, finished a landmark year as student-body president of his high school. Steve led an ambitious campaign to raise money to build a life-sized bronze statue of the school’s mascot, a Spartan. Through Steve’s efforts, the school was able to feel a new unity of purpose and spirit.
Steve participated in the school jazz band. He is active in his quorum and earned his Eagle Award. He is also involved in many community service projects.
Nancy Dewey, Stanstead, Quebec, Canada, was proclaimed the outstanding citizen of her school. In a school publication announcing her award, Nancy was described as “a model student, studious, polite, and sociable, a girl who is very involved in school life and who always has a smile on her face for everyone.”
In addition to her academic accomplishments, Nancy loves sports and is a valuable player on her school’s basketball and softball teams. At home, she enjoys alpine skiing, ice and roller skating, and horseback riding. She also plays the piano and organ.
Nancy helps out on the family farm, especially during haying season.
Nancy also enjoys participating in youth activities in her branch. She is a member of the Newport Branch, Montpelier Vermont Stake.
Elva Jean Grauel of Burtonsville, Maryland, has spent a lot of time on the bench—the organ bench of her ward chapel, that is.
Following her early-morning seminary class every day, Elva had a 40-minute wait for her school bus. She put the time to good use by practicing the organ. Her efforts were rewarded when she won first place on both the local and regional levels in the classical keyboard category in a National Association of Christian Schools competition.
Elva serves as president of her Mia Maid class and as assistant organist in the Colesville Ward, Seneca Maryland Stake.
Chad May of Cleveland, Texas, was selected as one of 11 finalists on the Fina Academic All-State Football team. An outstanding athlete, Chad has also excelled in academics and in church service.
Chad lettered in four sports: football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. He was valedictorian of his graduating class and served in leadership positions every year at Shepherd High school. He earned his Eagle badge and Duty to God and On My Honor awards.
In addition, Chad served as seminary class president and chairman of the stake youth committee. He also served as president of his deacons and teachers quorums. Chad is a member of the Cleveland Ward, Kingwood Texas Stake.
Chet Loveland and Brett Bingham, both of Gooding, Idaho, took gold medals as state wrestling champs in their weight classes.
Chet, wrestling in the 105-pound weight class, finished the three-day state tournament with a 32–2 mat record. Brett, wrestling at 98 pounds, was unbeaten with a record of 30–0.
Chet is a member of the Wendell First Ward, and Brett is in the Gooding First Ward.
Seminary students from Rock Springs, Wyoming, took on the challenge of reading the Book of Mormon during nine days of their spring break. Each morning, the group met at the seminary building to read. They took turns reading aloud 53 pages each day. From this intense experience with the scriptures, many said that their testimonies have grown.
Shannon Kelley of Weiser, Idaho, was named the state president of Office Education Association. OEA is a vocational club for students in business classes.
Shannon represented the 1,500 Idaho members at the National Leadership Conference in Ohio, where she was elected as national secretary for the organization.
Shannon is a member of the Weiser Second Ward, where she has served as Mia Maid president and as a counselor in the Laurel class presidency. She earned her Young Women medallion and completed four years of seminary.
In school, Shannon has been active in musical drama. She also spent a summer as a foreign exchange student in Australia.
Kimberly Martino, 13, along with her parents, four sisters, and her brother, accepted the challenge given them and the other members of the Lewisville Texas Stake to read the Book of Mormon as a family.
“I thought it was neat when we finally finished,” Kimberly said. “We made a goal and we reached it. And at a stake fireside I was able to tell the story about how Nephi’s bow broke when he went into the wilderness to hunt.”
Kimberly’s stake president, President Gordon T. Watts, came up with the idea. “I called it the ‘100-Day Book of Mormon Program.’ It was the end of May, and I challenged everyone to read the Book of Mormon by September 1st.” Kimberly and her family, along with more than 100 members of the stake, received certificates of completion.
Eric Blanchard, a two-time state wrestling champion from St. Anthony, Idaho, is back wrestling again after nearly losing his life in an accidental shooting incident. Although Eric came perilously close to death and the bullet still remains lodged in his back, he followed doctor’s instructions and worked hard to get back into shape. Doctors determined that it was too dangerous to remove the bullet but that it would not affect his recovery if left where it was.
Eric succeeded in his third season and was nearly as strong as ever. He barely lost in overtime in his attempt for his third state championship. Eric is a priest in the Chester Ward, Ashton Idaho Stake.
Franco Vigliotti, 16, of the Renens Branch, Geneva Switzerland Stake, is an outstanding student and musician. He speaks four languages. He also plays the violin and piano beautifully. Although he has studied the violin for ten years, his major area of study is science. Franco is the only priest in his branch.