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Five seek 2018 Queen of Hearts crown

Submitted by Joette D. Street • Feb 15, 2018 at 11:33 AM

Five area high school students are helping raise money for the American Heart Association by seeking the 2018 Queen of Hearts title.

The Queen of Hearts is the longest fundraising campaign within the association. In 1964, Mr. and Mrs. Buddy Crump, along with their insurance colleagues, designed the fundraising campaign.

Queen of Hearts candidates learn how to plan, manage and operate their campaigns with objectives and goals in mind. Running a Queen of Hearts Campaign is similar to starting and running a small business on a very short-term basis. This campaign is vital to the success and future of heart research projects in our region and has raised more than 2.3 million dollars since its inception.

The title Queen of Hearts is awarded to the candidate who has raises the most money in her campaign. The queen will be announced and crowned at the Gala on Saturday, March 31.

Here are the five 2018 Queen of Hearts candidate biographies:

Jenna Mariah Francisco

Jenna Francisco is the daughter of David and Denise Francisco and the granddaughter of Nancy Tanner and Barbara Leonard. She is a sophomore at John S. Battle High School. Jenna is a member of Future Business Leaders of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the high school cheerleading squad and the Battle Buddies program in the elementary schools. She is a GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) student and maintains a 4.0 grade point average. She is actively involved in the youth program at Highlands Fellowship Church. Jenna chose to participate in the Queen of Hearts Campaign because she herself experiences a health issue that has made her aware of the American Heart Association’s mission to educate the community on the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Sadie Grace King

Sadie Grace King is the daughter of Kristi and Chad King and the granddaughter of Helen and John Fleenor. She is a junior at Sullivan Central High School. Sadie is currently serving as vice president of her junior class after holding the same office for her freshman and sophomore classes. She is the vice president for the HOSA-Future Health Professionals club and a member of the Key Club, Anchor Club, Beta Club, National Honor Society, Leadership Team and the Yearbook Committee. Sadie is an honor roll student carrying a 4.0 GPA and has received academic achievement with honors in Chemistry I, Spanish II and Geometry. She is involved with the LoveShare Organization and works at the Little Panda Restaurant. Sadie feels that participating in the Queen of Hearts Campaign will help her grow as an individual and she feels honored to support the American Heart Association.

Gwendolyn Elizabeth McLaughlin

Gwendolyn Elizabeth McLaughlin is the daughter of Tina McLaughlin and Craig McLaughlin, and the granddaughter of Retha Smith and Sande McLaughlin. She is a junior at Abingdon High School where she is a member of Community Scholars, Future Business Leaders of America, the varsity cheerleading team and the varsity tennis team. In 2017, she was a part of the state tennis championship team and received the girls Most Improved Player Award. Elizabeth is active in the Youth Alive and Young Life programs. She is participating in the Queen of Hearts Campaign in honor of her late paternal grandmother and grandfather, both of whom she lost to cardiovascular disease.

Gabriella Paige Mitchell

Gabriella Paige Mitchell is the daughter of Valerie and Jeffrey Mitchell, and the granddaughter of Sandra and Bane Mitchell and Ruby and Vance Bise. She is a senior at Virginia High School, where she is a member of the Bristol Youth Council, the History Club and Skills USA. She is the treasurer of the World Language Club and the National Honor Society as well as vice president of the BETA Club. Gabby has been a part of Bristol Youth Leadership for the past two years and currently serves as an alum. She has been a participant of Citizens in Action each of her four years of high school. She received the Golden V Award in her freshman, sophomore and junior years, and has been on the school honor roll throughout her four years at Virginia High. Gabby is participating in the Queen of Hearts Campaign because she has lost multiple family members to cardiovascular disease.

Collin Elizabeth White

Collin Elizabeth White is the daughter of Lisa and Chris White, and the granddaughter of Sue and Bobby White, Joyce and David Crockett and the late Carole King Crockett. A sophomore at John S. Battle High School, she is a member of the Key Club, Battle Buddies, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Council Association, the Scholastic Bowl Team and the track team. As a freshman, Collin received the award for the English 9 Honors Class. She serves as treasurer of the student council, and was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society when she was in seventh and eighth grades. She is also a member of Bristol Ballet’s Senior Company and the First Baptist Church Bristol Youth Group. Collin has chosen to dedicate her campaign in honor of Michele Plescia, Bristol Ballet’s artistic director.

To learn more, contact Joette D. Street, regional director of the East Tennessee Greater Southeast Affiliate in Johnson City, at joette.street@heart.org, visit www.heart.org or call (423) 416-7740.

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