Leah Katherine AdcoxMiss Jones County
Scholastic Ambition: Master’s Degree in Sports Nutrition with a Minor in Business
Scholastic Honors: Straight “A” student, National Honor Society, Beta Club
Platform: Dyslexia Awareness + Crushing the Label
What makes you special and unique? Well, according to my mom, I am a walking contradiction. I am a delicate tomboy; spoiled rotten, but will give you the shirt off of my back; tender hearted but you will never see me cry. I have been very blessed with an amazingly supportive family, but I have also been a foster sister and have witnessed both ends of the spectrum. I believe this gives me a very unique perspective on life.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? I have a diagnosis of “Twice Exceptional”, which means I have dyslexia and dysgraphia paired with a high IQ. These are considered hidden disabilities, so this isn’t something you would immediately realize when meeting me.
Best advice you have ever received? The best advice I have ever heard came from the fabulous Dolly Parton, “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours!” I can’t think of anything more important! So simple yet so powerful!
What can’t you live without? Good, old, sweet LOVE. Love conquers all. Self-love, family love, we all need to love and be loved in order to truly live.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure? Choco Tacos!
What is your favorite movie genre and why? Sappy love stories are my favorite, I mean I am a teenage girl. ☺ But mostly because I hold my feelings in during everyday life and when I sit down and watch something full of emotion, it allows me to de-stress.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Ultimately, I see myself as a strong woman in the modern business world owning a corporation offering specialized catering services to organizations such as: Government special operations training, NFL teams, and Olympic sports programs. I also hope to be affiliated with the foster care system in some aspect. If not yet as a foster parent, then possibly a respite home.
Most valuable lesson learned? Never ever take anything you have for granted. Things that you have today are not guaranteed to be here tomorrow.
Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why? Dolly Parton! She is the perfect example of a self-made woman who has used her fame and fortune to help people. She promotes inclusiveness and always has, even before it became a movement. She doesn’t care what your race, religion or socioeconomic status might be. She preaches equality and loves everyone the same. She teaches young girls that they can be a force to be reckoned with if only they put their minds to it. She gives back in such a huge way and I can’t think of anyone who I aspire to be more like, because of these qualities and so many more!
What motivates you? Seeing a smile on someone else’s face! The assurance that someone besides myself is getting something out of what I am doing is probably my greatest motivation. I truly enjoy seeing happiness in others.
Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? My greatest accomplishments up to this point in my life would have to be being named Sequoyah of the Year at ACE Cheer Company. This is an award voted on by coaches and teammates making it extra special to me! Also, I have just recently had an article published by Susan Barton who is an internationally recognized expert on dyslexia!! I was able to tell my story and share my journey, which has been shared worldwide!
Best compliment you have ever received? I have received several messages from mothers in my town thanking me for being a wonderful role model for their little girls. I don’t think I could ever receive a more rewarding compliment than that!
Secret wish or dream? To be a famous Christian artist like Lauren Daigle. To be able to touch as many lives and homes as she has with my music is a dream! She puts such a positive message out there without alienating anyone and I aspire to do the same!
What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? When I was a little girl, I would hold concerts for the lunch ladies at my school and as I got older, I realized it was something everyone talked about.
What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? Being a UFC fighter.
What is your super power? Healing. From wounded animals to wounded people, they all seem to find their way to me. I feel like I have a God given ability to make things a little bit better.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Program? If you put yourself in the right situations, you can make a difference in the lives of others.
Describe yourself in one word. ABLE!
A Fun Family Fact? We are descended from German women who were burned in the witch trials of the 1400’s and our family castle still stands to this day.
My name is Leah Katherine Adcox and I am from the small town of Poplarville, MS. I am sixteen years old and a junior at Poplarville High School where I am an active member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, DECA Club, co-captain of the PHS cheer team and a starting middle blocker for the Lady Hornet volleyball team. I am a student at Groove House Music School in Hattiesburg, MS and attend Coastal South Volleyball Academy in Ocean Springs, MS. I am also a member of the State Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council in Jackson, MS where I am serving a two-year term under Dr. Carey Wright as an advocate for my peers to help bridge the gap between the students of Mississippi public schools and the Mississippi Department of Education. I serve as an ambassador for The Skills Foundation of Mississippi, helping to educate students on high-demand careers and appropriate training programs in Mississippi. I am an animal lover who also loves the outdoors, baking, anything music related and traveling to historic places.
When I’m not busy with school and extra-curricular activities, I enjoy helping with my family’s catering and entertainment business, which provides catering services as well as fun rides such as mechanical bulls, rock walls, bungee jumps and such to festivals and other events.
I CAN AND I WILL… JUST WATCH ME! For years this has been my go-to statement! You see, in the third grade, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Up until that point, I couldn’t read a three-letter word! My parents had meeting after meeting with my teachers and were told that I was an underachiever and that I would never be more than a mediocre student. Well, lucky for me, they knew better! But for most children who suffer from hidden disabilities, there isn’t anyone there to advocate for them. This creates a huge crack for these kids to fall through and most times leads to these children becoming statistics. Over forty million Americans have dyslexia and only slightly more than two million are receiving services for a reading disorder. So many children fall behind in school and ultimately drop out due to the lack of in-depth screening to be able to identify certain markers that could provide early intervention. Also, I will take my platform a step further and make sure that once students are diagnosed, they are not hindered by the label. I have had to fight my way through and prove that I can excel greatly if I’m not put in a box and labeled “learning disabled”.
I believe that once identified, dyslexia can become a gift instead of a disability! With proper accommodations students can finally realize their potential and begin to focus on the many positive traits that come along with this diagnosis. I once read a quote saying, “everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid!”
I am helping to bring awareness to my platform, Dyslexia Awareness + Crushing the Labels, by serving on the State Superintendent Student Advisory Council. This role lets me tell my story and offer insight to what I believe will help to identify struggling students, hopefully helping to lower the dropout rate. I want to ultimately rebrand dyslexia and make the world see who we really are! We are the imaginers, the creators! We are driven and ambitious and persistent IF we aren’t made to believe we are simply mediocre! There are so many children struggling every single day with no one to advocate for them. I intend to do just that, educate and advocate!!!