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State Honoree

Jessica Gibbons

South Carolina

Jessica Gibbons, 18, of Greer, S.C., a senior at Greer High School, suggested and spearheaded a musical service and potluck supper to promote friendship and understanding between members of her church and a neighboring African American congregation. “I wanted a project that would bring our two communities together and give us a platform to do two of the most ‘uniting’ activities I could think of – eating and singing!” Jessica said. After presenting her ideas to church officials, Jessica recruited volunteers and set up committees to implement her plans. “It took lots of people and tons of committees,” she said. After six months of planning and two months of practicing the music, the day was a huge success. The church’s sanctuary was filled to the last row of the balcony, and “everyone raved that it was the best musical service they had ever attended,” Jessica said. The congregations are now planning an even bigger event in 2003. “My greatest wish for that day was that we could use that experience to bring us in community with our neighbors,” said Jessica. “I’m proud to say that has happened.”