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All Saints Episcopal School is proud to announce that a member of its 2022 graduating class is the recipient of the Lubbock Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) 2022 Women of Excellence Youth Leadership Award.

Senior Ashby Whitaker has been selected by the YWCA as the recipient from a long list of area high school applicants. Each year, one senior girl is nominated by the school’s selection committee to apply for the prestigious YWCA Youth Leadership Award. Each young woman’s accomplishments are then reviewed by the YWCA Women of Excellence Selection Committee. This committee chooses one outstanding recipient for the award based on the applicant’s plans to pursue post-secondary education studies upon graduation, her leadership potential through her involvement in extracurricular activities and/or service to school or community, and her demonstration of strong academic ability.

“It’s with great joy to know that Ashby Whitaker has been selected to receive the Women of Excellence Youth Leadership Award through the YWCA,”  High School Division Head Tammy Edmonson said.

As a member of the 21-member Class of 2022 and All Saints’ seventh graduating class, Whitaker is the first student from All Saints to receive the distinguished 2022 Women of Excellence Youth Leadership Award along with a $500 scholarship.

“I am humbled by this recognition and am honored to be included among such a wonderful group of women,” Whitaker said.  Other 2022 Women of Excellence award recipients this year include Beth Bridges, Sandra Harris, Dina Jeffries, Janice Magness, Melinda Pharies, Comfort Pratt, Lynn Sanderson, Elizabeth Sharp, and Katherine Wells.

Whitaker will be honored along with these other award recipients at a dinner on March 3 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. More details, such as ticket information, are available at ywcalubbock.org.

“Ashby exudes so many incredible talents and strives to continually do her best academically while staying very involved in extracurricular activities at All Saints and in the community,”  Edmonson said.

Edmonson also credits Whitaker’s parents for her successes.  “Ashby’s parents, Jeff and Dana Whitaker, are also to be commended for their diligence and drive to provide Ashby with an outstanding education and have guided and helped her to pursue a variety of activities and service work,” Edmonson said.

By promoting women as leaders in Lubbock, the YWCA strives to empower women and their families in order to establish strong role models for future generations of young women.  According to information on the YWCA of Lubbock website, since 1989 over 300 Women of Excellence award recipients have been inspiring others in Lubbock not only with their professional achievements but also with the work they do for others.

All Saints can claim three former recipients for the YWCA Women of Excellence Awards. In 1991 All Saints Chaplain The Rev. Jo Roberts Mann received the Religious Award. All Saints alumnae Kirsten Doty received the Youth Leadership Award in 1992 as did Shaili (Khanderia) Felton in 1995.

“Ashby Whitaker has an unbelievable work ethic, a positive attitude, high moral standards and a winning personality,” High School Counselor Gwen Belk said.  “She is a young lady who truly possesses a ‘servant’s heart.’

She is committed to making the world a better place for future generations.”

Whitaker’s 437 hours of community service exemplifies the mission of the YWCA. She volunteers locally with Lubbock Dream Center, South Plains Food Bank, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Second Helpings, Toys for Tots, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Project C.U.R.E., Lubbock IMPACT, National Charity League, Lubbock Symphony Guild, State Representative John Frullo’s Office, and with the National Security and Intelligence Yobe State University Team, and the International Law and Advocacy Bauchi State Team in Nigeria.

“Her perseverance and dedication to her academics, her school and her community are unlike anything I have ever experienced,” Belk said. “I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Ashby and I am so pleased she is receiving this prestigious award.”

At All Saints, Whitaker is a member of the Academic Team, Varsity Speech and Debate Team, Honor Council, National Honor Society, Band, Varsity Tennis, Varsity Cheer, Varsity Mock Trial Team, Student Council, and Chemistry Club.

As a member of Lubbock’s Chapter of the National Charity League she has served as Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Parliamentarian.  She is also the Vice President for All Saints’ Sherry Fewin Chapter of the National Honor Society, and serves as a member All Saints Honor Council Chairman.

Whitaker has been appointed as a Team Leader for the National Security and Intelligence Internship and International Law and Advocacy Internship; Argentina’s Head of State for Knovva Model G20 Virtual Summit on Global Health; Captain of the All Saints Varsity Speech and Debate Team as well as Captain of the school’s Varsity Tennis Teams.  She was also appointed as a counselor for Camp Mishawaka, a children’s summer camp in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Her compassion to help others has led her to assume leadership initiatives in other countries.  In June Whitaker collaborated with the staff at Yobe State University in Nigeria to develop and fund impactful security solutions for the University as well as co-authored a security plan to mitigate chronic militaristic terrorist threats.  In July as a delegate to the Knovva Academy Leadership Model G20 Virtual Summit on Global Health, she negotiated and co-authored a lithium extraction agreement and Argentina – European Union – Canada trade agreement.  Whitaker also conducted research to address global economic recovery post COVID.  As a member of the Leadership Initiatives International Law and Advocacy team, beginning in August she collaborated with the local Bauchi State Leaders to reduce domestic violence cases in the primarily Sharia Law based region of Nigeria and helped prepare victims for court trials, depositions, and public appearances.  She is still working on this initiative.

Even with all of her national, international, and local volunteering projects, Whitaker has managed to excel in her school activities by achieving high grades and winning numerous competitions. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction, listed on the Headmaster’s Honor Roll, Patriot Scholar Awards, and received All Saints’ highest award  – the Proven Patriot Award, which is selected by the high school faculty.  Whitaker placed in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial School’s (TAPPS) State Academic Championships in Literary Criticism, Ready Writing, and Current Events. She has placed at the State TAPPS level Domestic Extemporaneous Speech contests as well as a variety of other area speech contests.  Whitaker is a two-time TAPPS 2A State Tennis Champion as well as a two-time TAPPS 2A State Tennis Runner Up Champion and has been named to the TAPPS All State Academic Team. In addition, she is a member of the school’s two-time TAPPS State Field Band Championships.

During her free time Whitaker is a Project Writer for N2 Publishing for the Orchard Park / Oakmont/ BeLocal Publications in addition to serving as an intern for Representative John Frullo’s office in Constituent Outreach.

Whitaker’s hobbies include learning new languages. Right now she is learning Spanish and Hausa.  To relax Whitaker enjoys reading, writing, running, tennis, and pickle ball.  She also plays the piano, keyboard, and xylophone.

Her extensive background in volunteerism began when she developed a love for helping others through the National Charity League.

“After years as a YWCA Sea Dragon (competitive swim club), one of my teammates introduced me to the National Charity League where I began to give back to the community that built me,” Whitaker said. “From assembling food boxes and engaging in meaningful conversations with patrons of the South Plains Food Bank and the Lubbock Dream Center to advocating for human rights victims in Nigeria, I have worked tirelessly to reciprocate the dedication the YWCA displays.  I will work to ease the pains of my community, local and global, for that is what makes a woman of character, a woman of excellence, a leader.”

Her career goals include pursuing an undergraduate degree in International Relations or International Security Studies and then attending law school with a specialty in International Policy. Whitaker has not yet determined which college she will attend in the fall.

“I plan to join the CIA as a legal/political analyst to protect the underserved and endangered corners of the globe.  I hope to draft international policy to solidify change for good,” Whitaker said. “I would like to return home to utilize the knowledge and experience gained from my educational path to support the Lubbock community.”

She is the daughter of Dana and Jeff Whitaker.  Whitaker began her tenure at All Saints in 2014 in the fifth grade.

Her brother, Sebastian Whitaker, graduated from All Saints in 2021.  He is currently a freshman attending the University of Notre Dame.

“She has taken advantage of the many opportunities that All Saints offers and does this with an eager and positive attitude,”  Edmonson said.  “I look forward to seeing what all Ashby accomplishes as she pursues college and in life and know that whatever it is that she does, it will be a success!”