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State Honoree

Katelyn Bowles

Kentucky

Katelyn Bowles, 17, of Mount Sterling, Ky., a senior at Montgomery County High School, initiated and spearheaded the renovation of the historic Mt. Sterling C&O Train Depot, rallying fellow high school students to take on the project and securing $200,000 in grants to pay for it. "One day, my mother and I were driving down the road in downtown Mt. Sterling," said Katelyn. "I looked over and noticed for the first time the disgrace our dilapidated train depot had become. I thought it was preposterous that such an historical building in our community was rotting to waste and I decided to restore it."

At the suggestion of her mother, a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) adviser, Katelyn led fellow FBLA members in preparing a business proposal and making presentations to gain the backing of local government agencies, then succeeded in obtaining a variety of grants, including $153,000 from the Kentucky Transportation Department. With a full year of work already behind her, Katelyn recruited carpentry students in her school's SkillsUSA club to do the actual renovation work, which is scheduled to be completed next year. The project, involving more than 200 volunteers all together, is not only "assuring that part of our history and heritage is restored," said Katelyn, but is also "proving that teens are capable of doing what they put their minds to."