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volume x, number xii
B E I N G A T E E N A G E R I S H A R D . And I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think being a teenager is harder today than ever before. Although I have some issues with the millennial generation— after all, right or wrong, it’s quite easy to look at them as a group and claim they are mollycoddled, cossetted, oversensitive, and entitled—I also think in many ways they get a bum rap. I know for certain that the strong, confident, fearless, creative, motivated, imaginative, and generous girls featured in this special issue turn the notion that today’s millennial generation is off track upside down.
I haven’t been a teenager for more years than I care to admit here. However, the melodramatic angst that accompanied that time in my life is hard to forget. And while I’m certain it’s difficult to be a teenage boy—I’ve raised three of them, after all, and I’m a little grayer and a bit less sane as a result—I do know for a fact that being a girl is not always a cakewalk, either. I wish I could go back in time and tell my 17-year-old self some things that might make navigating those years a little easier. But then again, knowing 17-year-old me, and judging from the wrinkles and gray hair my own mother earned when I was that age, I probably wouldn’t listen to myself. When I was in my teens, I couldn’t wait until the next big thing: getting my driver’s license, graduating from high school, going off to college, getting my first job, and starting a family. I was in such a hurry to get through those years, I didn’t really experience them. So, if I could tell my teenage self anything, I would say, “Slow down. Watch. Learn. Soak it all up—what you are experiencing now will help you in the future. If you can’t embrace it, at least don’t resist so much.” I’d also advise her to follow her heart, have faith in herself, take a chance, mistakes are ok, stop worrying so much about what
others think, and there are far cooler things to focus on right now than boys. I’d counsel her that no one can wrangle away her confidence; that she is the only one who can defeat it. I would probably tell her to listen to Mom a bit more because she was usually right; I would definitely tell her to call Grandmom more often, to hug her tight when she visits, and tell her how much she loves her—and don’t put that one off for very long. Of course, in today’s digital age, I’d have to add, “And whatever you do, don’t video anything, post anything, tweet anything, or text anything that you don’t want the entire 11th grade to know about tomorrow morning.” That’s why, if I were given the choice between being a teenager in the 1980s or today, I’d choose the ‘80s, with no hesitation. Today’s teens have to deal with the anxiety of having the most experimental years of their lives documented online for all to see and with the knowledge that mistakes can live forever on the Internet. I don’t know about you, but my teenage blunders were embarrassing enough without the entire planet watching them on YouTube. The stories you’ll read in these pages are just the opposite. Our Amazing Girls inspire me with their unique skills, visions, and indelible senses of self. They are tomorrow’s leaders, the ones who will be setting the pace, and judging by what I’m seeing now, I can say with great confidence that our future is in good hands.
C O N TAC T D A N A V I A E - M A I L AT D A N A @ L A K E N O R M A N W O M A N . C O M
all in for the Love! Dr. Jane BarBer Bar er Share ShareS her er Story
a healthier you in twelve S tep tepSS !
on women & heart disease
See our Pages in honor of heart-heaLth Month …
heart matters e of th
learn to let go
& delegate! de-stress
winning by loSing
“bIggest loser” celebrIty, eMily joy
a n y w h e r e, even divorce
10 i ssu e
Marcyne TouchTon of DoMaine STaging
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F: O E
Celebration, INSPIRATION, & Motivation As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we thank our readers, our advertisers, and the entire Lake Norman community for your loyal support. We can’t wait to see what the next ten years bring!
business n o p a i n and n o g a i n : a new f o r m u l a f o r s u c c e s s
the benefits of extraCurriCular extra aC C tivities
woman Contents lkn
girls on the go
amazing lkn girl: DeLaina Yancey
amazing lkn girl: Sharonda Adams
amazing lkn girl: Samantha Grembecki
amazing lkn girl: Aubree Dean
| june 2017
amazing lkn girl: Jordan Wolfe
o n the c over:
lkn amazing girl, jordan feldman ph oto g r a ph y by: chelsea bren
what did dad teach you?
a m a z i n g g i r l s (cont'd.)
amazing lkn girl: Sophia DiGioia
amazing lkn girl: Jordan Feldman
amazing lkn girl: Isabella Frommelt
where are they now?
a very special thanks
to our photo shoot location, discovery place kids, located at 105 gilead road in huntersville.
f a m i ly
raising a tween or teen
the benefits of extracurricular activities
advice for moms from a teenage daughter
she said what?! : What Did Dad Teach You?
june 2017 |
she said what?!
s and o game e—came t e m o h grad ould c o be “Dad w when I—in fift a daughter t he t e s is in a e n’t r is ey , get cover h He said, ‘I did to participate t it: ‘Life ge nt cheer. you wa ut I did ’re going out to lines; if him literally, b ou e y id ll s a e ake hin’ is on th t c t ’t a n w id r if Id you life ort; game.’ ator sp oing to watch t c e p s is not a do, you’re g ithout ya’.’” to go by w
“My dad sparked a love of reading and education in all of us. He always read to us, even when we were old enough to read on our own. It was always a special time with him.”
A TRIBUTE TO OUR FATHERS FOR FATHER’S DAY “He taught me how to work hard for what I want and to be patient because it will pay off. My dad is my superhero!”
“My dad taught me to value and respect life and to help others who need it … namely in nature. He was a longtime volunteer and a lifetime member of the Carolina Raptor Center. And he’s the reason I move spiders out of the house back ‘into the wild.’”
| JUNE 2017
“Of all the things I learned from Dad, his eye for detail, and doing everything the right— though sometimes the longest—way, benefits and haunts me daily!”
“My dad taught me to have a sense of humor and not to sweat the small stuff.”
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JUNE 2017 |
g n i s i a R
so who ’ s in charge ?
: N E E T R O N E E A TW By: Dr. Wissam Nadra
R E C E N T LY, I sat down with my 88-yearold mother over an espresso and asked her for advice about child rearing: How did you and Dad do it? My mom smiled at me and said one sentence: Love them unconditionally, be patient, and learn to pick your battles.
As a pediatrician and father of three children—two of whom are teenagers (15 and 14 years old, respectively), I can honestly say that their sense of reasoning has flown out the window. While they are both great students at school, I feel sometimes that their common sense is almost nonexistent. My wife and I feel like we’re repeating ourselves constantly: Did you comb your hair? Did you brush your teeth? Is your room clean? ... etc. The MD-part of me understands the hormonal changes going on in their bodies but the Dadside of me is baffled by their seemingly erratic, nonchalant behaviors. P.S. (to all three of
Your mother and I love you very much!
| JUNE 2017
While these may be difficult child-rearing years for us as parents, there’s a lot we can do to nurture and encourage responsible behaviors in our tweens and teens. 1 EVERY MOMENT COUNTS AS QUALITY TIME. Sometimes, the best conversations with your child happen in the car when there is minimal eye contact and they can free associate. 2 LOVE THEM AND TELL THEM AND SHOW THEM HOW MUCH. We assume they know that we love them, but you need to demonstrate that always! At the same time, you need to discipline and guide them as a parent and not as a friend. 3 GIVE THEM THEIR SPACE. This is especially important when you are upset with one another. Also, lead by example and forgive them. 4 REMEMBER YOU LOVE THEM BUT MAY NOT ALWAYS APPROVE OF THEIR BEHAVIORS OR ACTIONS. When critiquing a behavior you disapprove of, focus on the behavior. Don’t make it a personal attack on their character. 5 DON’T SET UNACHIEVABLE EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR CHILD. Remember that each of your children has personal strengths and weaknesses. Always build on their strengths. 6 ENCOURAGE SAFETY. Encourage cyber safety, and remind them not to text and drive, or to meet someone online that they have never met in person.
7 HAVE AT LEAST ONE MEAL A DAY AS A FAMILY. Take time to talk and share what happened during each family member’s day. 8 FOLLOW YOUR OWN ADVICE. Practice what you preach. What we say or do is being watched and scrutinized by our children. 9 REMEMBER THAT EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. What may work with one child doesn’t always work with the other one. Respect the differences you see in each of your children.
Wissam E. Nadra, MD, FAAP, AIHM, is the president and clinical director at Lakeshore Pediatric Center in Denver. He is a boardcertified pediatrician, also certified in integrative medicine. For more information, visit www. lakeshorepediatric.com, or call 704.489.8401.
Finally, I leave you with the words of the Lebanese American poet Gibran Kahlil Gibran: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself... You may give them your life but not your thoughts ... You may house their bodies but not their souls... For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow...”
Studio 73 Dance
Our 18 Seasonth
Ballet ~ Tap ~ Jazz ~ Lyrical ~ Pointe ~ Hip-Hop ~ Competition ~ Adult Classes
Empowering individuals to grace the stages of life through DANCE! www.studio73dance.com ( 7 0 4 )
8 7 5 . 9 9 1 1 JUNE 2017 |
go ON THE
THI S I SSU E O F L K N W IS ALL AB OU T OU R AR EA ’S A M A ZI NG GI RL S . W H AT B ET T ER WAY TO K IC K OF F THI S S PE CI A L I S S UE TH AN B Y R EC OG N IZ IN G ELEV EN OF L A KE N ORM A N’S GI RL S W H O AR E P U T T IN G T H IN G S IN MOTI O N!
Compiled By: Amy Hallman
S E R I PA Q U E T T E
Seri Paquette, a Southlake Christian sophomore, who is in this year’s school play, was born with a congenital heart defect. Enduring numerous heart procedures, including two open-heart surgeries (one at 6 months and another at 6 years old), Seri also had a valve placement at Boston Children’s Hospital when she was just 14. Seri enjoys cheerleading and snowboarding, but she is also very involved with the American Heart Association. She is currently a spokesperson for its program, Jump Rope for Heart, with which she has worked since she was 8 years old. Multiple times Seri has won awards as a top fundraiser. She also serves on the youth board for Camp Luck, a nonprofit organization, which works with children of all ages with heart conditions. Also, she is a youth counselor one week over the summer at both Camps Luck and Cherokee.
Chloe Wright is a talented, driven Lake Norman High School junior with a 4.6 GPA.
Within her three honor societies, C H LO E she does various service WRIGHT projects. This year, Chloe is choreographer for the school show choir, which is preparing for national competition. She is also a member of the school’s advanced acting group, The Academy, participating in improvisational shows and play festivals. | JUNE 2017
Rocky River Elementary School third grader Sydney Barbee was born via in-vitro fertilization, after being frozen as an embryo for four months. Her mother went into premature labor, and Sydney was born at 24 weeks, weighing only 1 lb., 10 oz., and 12 ½ inches long! She suffered grade 3 and 4 brain bleeds, causing cerebral palsy. She spent 121 days in the neonatal intensive care unit and endured 10 surgeries. Sydney has retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)—the same eye disease as Stevie Wonder— and she wears ankle-foot orthoses, or leg braces. Still, Sydney walked at age 3 without the assistance of her walker—even after doctors said that she would never walk. Last December, she completed her first 5K with Girls on the Run of the Greater Piedmont. Sydney is currently in taekwondo and hopes to return to gymnastics this summer.
Involved in theater since age 10, Chloe has worked with several local theaters, both on and off the stage; and she aspires to design and direct theater productions. She began stage managing at 13 years old and directing at 16. Recently, Chloe studentdirected the Davidson Community Players’ Connie Company production at Christmas in Davidson. She is not afraid to undertake the difficult task of directing her peers as choreographer or director, and receives high praise from cast and audience after each performance.
Hough High School sophomore Ciera Gillespie gives her voice to a cause. In elementary school, she won the Do the Right Thing Award, writing about caring for her father figure, her terminally ill grandfather. In middle school, CIERA Ciera addressed parents and teachers and wrote GILLESPIE the district superintendent regarding the girls’ dress code. Subsequently, the dress code was changed. The superintendent told Ciera her letter was one of the best written—by an adult or student.
G I R L S ONTH E G O
A member of the feminist and Democrats clubs, Ciera founded the garden club, coordinating plant donations for school beautification. Last year, on scholarship, she attended the Hudson Valley Young Writer’s Project at New Paltz College. For the last two summers, she visited family in New York, and volunteered at an organic farm, teaching children about the environment. During the recent presidential election, Ciera volunteered to canvas and register voters.
Mirabella Calabrase, a sophomore at Cannon School, is not only interested in her own personal growth, but also in others. She won the 2015 National President’s Volunteer Service award for completing 100-plus volunteer hours. She serves as a golf camp instructor for underprivileged children, Junior Girls Golf Association president, a MIRABELLA member of the Leukemia CALABRASE & Lymphoma Society, a vacation bible school instructor, and a Taylor Glenn Retirement Community volunteer. Recently, she won the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award, and was selected as a student council representative and an intern for Animus House. As a member of the school swim team and the women’s state championship golf team, Mirabella is proficient in English, Spanish, and Italian, and has mastered the violin. Since 2014, she has participated in the Young Elites leadership summit and ambassadors program, founding her school chapter.
MACKENZIE M A D D OX
In addition to multiple high school sports, Pine Lake Preparatory senior Mackenzie Maddox enjoyed ballet, tap, and jazz for eleven years. She was a teacher’s assistant and mentor for young dancers, receiving the 2013 overall studio award. For three years, Mackenzie, a member of Tri-M Music Honor Society, has participated in Pride Singers, serving also as secretary and social chair.
CONNIE FRANCOVIG Hough High School senior Connie Francovig is motivated by her parents’ journey to U.S. citizenship, which she says taught her about life and what it means to persevere. Her proudest moment was receiving the Eagle Award for her outstanding display of Christian leadership, character, and zeal for Jesus Christ. Connie is passionate about her faith, community service, and giving back. Connie has organized and hosted annual fundraising events, raising more than $1,000 for nonprofit organizations. At church, she is the youngest small group leader for children. A member of National Honor Societies in Spanish, art, and social studies, Connie is also a Young Elites ambassador, who received a leadership award at the 2016 Summit. At school, she is a Key Club officer and president of the Revolution Club. In her junior and senior years, she served as the PTSA student representative.
Mackenzie has earned the Presidential Service Award four times, and became a certified lifeguard. For two years, she volunteered at Novant Health Hospital, and plans a future career in medicine. As a junior, she was accepted into the Wake Forest/ Lake Norman Regional Medical Center Camp Medicine Program and the UNC-Chapel Hill LEAD Pharmacy Program.
Mackenzie twice won 1st place in GeoLogic Mapping in Science Olympiad, and 2nd place in anatomy and physiology. In addition to myriad club memberships, Mackenzie is a member of the National and Spanish Honor Societies and Mu Alpha Theta. Also, she founded her school chapter of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). JUNE 2017 |
SABRINA L AY M A N
Photography by Vince Stitt
G I R L S ONTH E G O
Bailey Middle School sixth grader Sabrina Layman is a Screen Actors Guild-eligible actress. She was “Young Gracie” in the film, Grace (2014), starring Sharon Lawrence; and “Red’s Sister” in The Ultimate Life (2013), directed by Michael Landon, Jr. Currently, she’s featured in the state’s Health & Human Services commercial, “On Top of Old Fluey.” Last summer, at screenwriting camp, Sabrina wrote a television-series script entitled “Hyper Piper and the Adventures on I.V.I.” Her mother says that because of industry interest, they will film the first episode, hoping to be picked up by a network. The anti-bullying show with the positive message of inclusion, dreaming big, teamwork, and prioritizing tasks will motivate kids to be leaders and self-starters. With personal experience being bullied, Sabrina wants her sci-fi adventure series to inspire kids to support one another’s different perspectives and personalities.
RENÉ ZURAF & OLIVIA KENT
Photography by Melissa Lynn Hunt
| JUNE 2017
René Zuraf, a Hough High School sophomore, and Lake Norman Charter School senior Olivia Kent co-lead the peer support group, Curvy Girls of Charlotte. The support group helps young girls and teens deal with the physical and emotional stress of a scoliosis diagnosis. Both girls have undergone spinal fusion surgery. René, who underwent surgery in 2014, has a spinal fusion from L4 to T2. She was diagnosed at 9 years old with juvenile idiopathic scoliosis after her gymnastics coach noticed the tell-tale curve. René is also involved in competitive cheerleading, including her junior varsity team. Olivia was also diagnosed at 9 years old, after having idiopathic seizures. After a brain surgery, Olivia also underwent a spinal fusion. Olivia is beginning flying lessons with a plan to earn her private pilot’s license. The international parent group, Curvy Girls, was founded by Leah Stoltz in 2006.
GABRIELLE ALEXIS MOORE Washington and Lee University freshman Gabby Moore graduated last year from Hough High School with the perfect attendance award of 13 years (K-12)! In the top 3 percent of her class and a United States Tennis Associationranked player, Gabby took off her senior year from school tennis to focus on the college application process. This all-conference tennis champion, regional finalist, state qualifier, MVP, and Player of the Year as a freshman, sophomore, and junior, now plays on her college team and is a pre-veterinary major. In high school, Gabby was a member of the senior student advisory, Mu Alpha Theta, and the National and Spanish Honor Societies, was the founder and president of the school chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and earned regional and state placement all four years in DECA. Gabby volunteered with children with special needs and at the Veterinary Hospital of Davidson.
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JUNE 2017 |
t s i f o e f n e B he
EXTRACURRICULARR ACTIVITIES EXTRACURRICULA
By: Michele Edwards
DANCE is a wonderful extracurricular activity that allows children of all ages to engage in a structured, classroom environment involving movement and music. Dance classes provide an opportunity for participants to exercise, to engage their mind by learning choreography and technique, to learn rhythm through the movement and music, to build friendships, and to have an opportunity to have a role model in their teacher that will impact their lives for years to come. Many of the students at our studio, Studio 73 Dance, attend class once a week to learn ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, praise dance, pointe, and hip-hop styles, depending on their personal preferences. Each style of dance teaches participants poise, confidence, self-worth, and how to be part of a group that depends on each other from week to week. Participating in a dance class not only teaches dancers a style of art but also provides them the tools to engage in other opportunities outside the studio where they can feel that confidence and poise when interacting with friends, family, school teachers, college professors, co-workers, and even a future boss in the workforce. This goes along with our studio purpose statement: “Empowering individuals to grace the stages of life through DANCE.” Any extracurricular activity that you can involve your children in gives them an opportunity to spread their wings to feel a sense of self-worth when accomplishing success and meeting goals on their own. An extracurricular activity also provides a safe place for children to engage with other friends without parents worrying where they are or what they are doing with any extra time they may have in their day. I personally like to fill my own children’s calendars with after-school activities in which they are able to exercise, to be around friends, and to release their own stresses from school and everyday life. This keeps them out of trouble and does not allow any free time of just sitting around on the couch watching television or playing on their phones. Dance, along with so many other after-school activities, is a wonderful tool that will only aide in the success of your child now and in the future with many life lessons and opportunities that they may not have at school.
Michele Edwards is the owner and an instructor at Studio 73 Dance in Huntersville. For more information, visit www.studio73dance.com, or call 704.875.9911. | JUNE 2017
© Sergiyn | Dreamstime.com
The bottom line is to engage your children in activities that will not only stimulate their minds but allow them to move their bodies, build friendships outside of a school setting, and provide them a positive environment that will impact them to be an influencer to those they come in contact with daily.
JUNE 2017 |
! s l gir AMAZING
our annual LKN teens and tweens issue spotlights eight of the strongest, most fearless, creative, and generous girls in the Lake Norman area.
| JUNE 2017
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a n i a DeL Yancey
eLaina Yancey has her head in the clouds—literally. She began taking flying lessons last year, and now the Cornelius teen is well on her way to earning her pilot’s license. She recently completed certification for taking off and landing a plane, a skill she mastered before she earned a license to drive a car. The daughter of Daniel and Diana Yancey, DeLaina’s passion for aircraft began when she found herself on board them quite a bit as she journeyed across the globe for Irish dancing competitions. After seeing a local troupe perform, DeLaina joined an international Irish dance school at the age of 3. By age 7, she was quite the globe trotter, traveling throughout the United States, as well as to Europe and Canada. “I fell in love with the huge airliners while traveling,” DeLaina remembers. “They fascinated me as much as the destination and gave me the aviation bug.” DeLaina takes weekly lessons at the Amos Aviation School, typically in a sports cruiser. Each lesson lasts between an hour and a half and two hours, and she already has collected eight hours of the 20 required to test for her license. “I was a little nervous at first,” DeLaina says, “but very determined to learn.” Though it can be scary to be at the helm of such a powerful machine, DeLaina doesn’t let that dissuade her. She hopes that by stepping
| JUNE 2017
out of her own comfort zone, she can embolden others: “I hope to encourage other girls to fly and to show them that being a woman does not have to stop you from working in a male-dominant field!” Juggling flying lessons with being a Community School of Davidson sophomore—one who also plays on the varsity volleyball and basketball teams, dances, is a Young Elites ambassador, and who volunteers at the Alzheimer’s patient unit at The Pines at Davidson as well as at other organizations—is a challenge, DeLaina admits. However, she manages it all pretty well by practicing the organizational and prioritizing skills she has learned from her mom: “Anyone can do what I do; they just have to have drive and motivation … and a mom like mine. She is my rock, and I am thankful every day for her.” DeLaina is also thankful for her best friend, Olivia, who helps her get her head out of the clouds from time to time and plant her feet firmly on the carefree ground of just being a teenager. “When we’re together we have so much fun,” she says. “Our typical day together can start with a Nerf gun war, then a walk through Davidson, then dinner and a movie.” DeLaina also has her volunteer work to keep her grounded. She finds her time with Alzheimer’s patients to be particularly meaningful. “Even the smallest thing can make a positive impact,” she notes. “A smile or a hug can make their day. If you have one person who has a great heart and is kind, it makes all the difference.” By: Dana Nieters
haronda Adams, Hough High School senior, has taken all the science courses possible, and she was all set to become a biomedical engineer. But as life has a way of doing, along came a curveball. Already involved in community service, including volunteering with residents at The Pines in Davidson, Sharonda had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on a humanitarian trip to Bosnia with The Echo Foundation, her teacher and mentor at school, Julie McConnell, and eight other students.
GET SUPPORT OR BE THE SUPPORT.
The internationally recognized Echo Foundation is right here in our community; its goal is to promote diversity and tolerance worldwide. The international board of advisors includes world-renowned names such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Dr. Paul Farmer, and until his death last year, Elie Wiesel. While Vanderbilt University in Nashville has always been Sharonda’s dream school, she is now focused on international studies in effort to become a diplomat. “I want to show people they have value in this world—even if their situation or place in the world doesn’t make it seem so,” she says. “Being involved is more than reading a newsline and passing judgment from afar.” This wasn’t Sharonda’s first curveball, and adaptation is her strength. Despite many years in an abusive household, Sharonda never gave up—or in. And last fall, she found herself homeless. As her senior year began, her longtime teacher (and Bosnian-trip leader), Julie McConnell called her in to check on her.
| JUNE 2017
“I told Julie the truth,” Sharonda says. “She knew most of what I’ve been through, and I just said I had nowhere to live.” But it was the next thing for which Sharonda was not prepared. “Julie just said, ‘Come live with me; you’ll have your own room,’” she recalls. “She hadn’t even run it by her husband, so I was cautious. I mean, they have three grown children. I’m not part of the foster program—so they’re getting nothing in return.” This 17-yearold couldn’t process that kind of unconditional love. But when Sharonda went home with Julie (pertinent consent forms were signed), she found that Julie’s husband, Dick, had been cleaning all day in anticipation. What struck her first were the clean sheets on her bed. “Dick is the father figure I’ve never had,” she says. “He jokes around and is so welcoming. Julie and Dick are my parents.” Last semester, she started her own GoFundMe to afford a college tour to Vanderbilt. She finished with all As and one B—in Julie’s class (physics)! “Yeah, I didn’t study enough,” she admits. This month, Sharonda will graduate in the top 10 percent of her class as a QuestBridge finalist, president of Science Olympiad, student ambassador for the Echo Foundation, a member of myriad National Honor Societies, and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Her goals are to give voice to the underrepresented, whether local or global. She believes much needs to be done to encourage minority children into upper level coursework and for the voiceless children trapped in bad home situations. Her philosophy for education and for life is the same: Get support or be the support. By: Amy Hallman
圀攀氀挀漀洀椀渀最 渀攀眀 瀀愀琀椀攀渀琀猀 漀昀 愀氀氀 愀最攀猀⸀ 一䄀吀䠀䔀一 䔀䰀䰀䤀匀 搀搀猀Ⰰ 瀀氀氀挀
䄀 㨀 㜀 ㈀ 㘀 䄀 甀 猀 琀 椀 渀 匀 洀 椀 氀 攀 猀 䌀 琀 ⸀ 匀 琀 攀 ㌀ 䐀 攀 渀 瘀 攀 爀Ⰰ 一 䌀 ㈀ 㠀 ㌀ 㜀 倀㨀 㜀 㐀 ⸀ 㤀 㔀 ⸀ 㠀 ㈀ 㜀 ㈀ 圀㨀 䐀 攀 渀 瘀 攀 爀 一 䌀 䐀 攀 渀 琀 愀 氀 䄀 爀 琀 猀 ⸀ 挀 漀 洀
JUNE 2017 |
a h t n a m a S Grembecki
THERE ARE NO EXCUSES.
ypically quiet and smiling, 15-year-old Samantha Grembecki becomes a fierce superhero when asked about childhood cancer. Diagnosed in October 2015, Sam is a Hodgkin’s lymphoma stage 2A bulk survivor, and anything but typical. Sam was a star soccer player at Lincoln Charter School when the treatment of a shoulder injury led to the diagnosis. Despite having cancer, Sam continued to add to her long list of accomplishments. Absent from school for more than half her freshman year, Sam kept straight A’s and was recently inducted
| JUNE 2017
into the National Beta Club for excellence in leadership, character, achievement, and service. Sam earned the Gold Presidential Award for volunteering in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and continues to log service hours for fostering felines, participating in Operation Christmas Child, mentoring two elementary students, and engaging in Project Unify activities to support children with disabilities. She is also a Girl Scout, and is currently working on the highest level of accomplishment, the Girl Scout Gold Award. Since her diagnosis, and loss of a friend to cancer, Sam is adamant about spreading pediatric cancer awareness. She has thrown her support behind her school’s blood drives by volunteering and encouraging donation. She recently gave a presentation to her high school assembly on why blood donation is vital to pediatric cancer patients, providing relevant facts and statistics, and offering ways the students could get involved. The emotional presentation of her personal experience with cancer created a spark within the student body to join her fight, and kicked off a fundraiser in partnership with her school. Sam insisted her school administration focus on childhood cancer during their annual “Talon Challenge.” Because of her efforts, the funds raised during this year’s challenge will go directly to The V Foundation’s pediatric cancer research fund. Two months after her cancer treatments were complete, Sam’s hard work paid off when she earned a position on the varsity soccer team as a freshman. She loves the game, and continues to focus on increasing her speed and stamina. A tribute to her skill and determination, Sam received the 2016 Sportsmanship Award during the Brittany Soccer Showcase. Sam also began training with her best friend, Megan, in early 2016. Less than six months from being declared cancer-free, Sam and Megan hiked the 1-day, 28.3 mile Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge, raising more than $7,000 for the MakeA-Wish Foundation. Sam and Megan were the first participants under 18 to hike and complete the route. Sam was also the first Make-A-Wish recipient to hike and complete the entire 28.3 miles. Sam’s proud mom, Cindy, says that her daughter inspires her to never take a day for granted. She admits that sometimes it is difficult to realize all the challenges that Sam has faced, and just how tough she had to be to persevere. She says that Sam is even more determined to do more and live fully. Cindy says it reminds her that there are no excuses. This superhero certainly doesn’t accept them!
By: Michelle Love
While most 11-year-olds are watching “Good Luck, Charlie” or playing Minecraft, Aubree Dean, a sixth grader at Francis Bradley Middle School, is busy running her own business. Aubree first felt the tug of entrepreneurship when as a first grader, she had a wish list of books that she wanted, but not the full piggy bank she needed to purchase them. Instead of asking her parents, Venitra and Richard, for an increase in her allowance, Aubree decided to raise the money herself with a lemonade stand. But Aubree’s heart is as big as her ambition, and when she realized that she could use the extra money she raised to help other children, too, she started a toy and school supply drive. “That first summer, we took three car loads to an area soup kitchen,” Venitra remembers. Aubree continued the drive for the next three summers. It was Aubree’s altruistic spirit that again fueled her next venture: raising money for typhoon victims in the Philippines. Upon learning that a friend from church had been affected by the 2013 natural disaster, Aubree was determined to help her and others in the ravaged country. She once again put her nose to the grindstone, this time raising close to $800 for the cause by making and selling Rainbow Loom items. Necessity is the mother of invention, and in fifth grade, Aubree needed to come up with the funds to attend a week-long conference in Washington, D.C. So Aubree did what any fifth grader would do … and no, she didn’t ask Grandma. She started yet another business endeavor, this time selling salads in a jar. Aubree stumbled upon this idea while trying to help her parents eat healthier lunches at work. Her mom and dad loved the easy-to-tote salads, so she decided to offer the salads on Facebook and Instagram. This enterprise proved particularly popular, and after the fundraising, with the support of her parents, Aubree turned it into a full-fledged business. She is now the owner of Aubree’s Salads On The Go, LLC and operates out of the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics Center.
A portion of the monthly proceeds goes to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of Aubree’s grandmother, who was diagnosed with the disease four years ago. And it is her grandmother who Aubree enjoys spending much of her free time with, just chatting or helping her with her beloved crossword puzzles. However, Aubree admits that being a business owner can sometimes get in the way of leisure activities and just being a kid. She does make the time, though, to hang out with her best friends, Katie and Annie, whenever she can. She’s also an avid swimmer who would love to win a gold medal one day, and she is a stellar student in the Cambridge program, which focuses on English, math, and science curricula. The science, Aubree loves; the math, she jokingly admits, not so much: “My least favorite subject is M.A.T.H., or ‘Mental Abuse To Humans.’” | JUNE 2017
By: Dana Nieters
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June 24th – 25th Sat./Sun. 10am – 5pm
Free Admission Birkdale Commons Parkway in Huntersville, NC
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JUNE 2017 |
hen 11-year-old Jordan Wolfe gets up in the morning, three things are certain: She will be donning a smile; she will help those around her; and she will be trying to improve herself in some way. Whether it’s school, her altruistic endeavors, or competing in her beloved sport, wakeboarding, Jordan will be making waves!
Jordan is the epitome of a true competitor. Valuing sportsmanship, she hopes to inspire others just as others have inspired her. Finishing first in the state in the North Carolina INT League (non-intimidating novice tournament of wakeboarding), Jordan was also proud to attend the 2016 World Wakeboarding Association event in Toronto, Canada, where she was able to compete with wakeboarders from all over the world. Among her many accolades and achievements, Jordan finished second at Wake the Lake in 2016, a local competition. “I love competing and interacting with all the other females in my sport,” Jordan smiles. “I want to encourage younger girls to follow their dreams and never give up, and I hope to be a role model for them as well.” Diagnosed with peanut and tree-nut allergies at age 2, Jordan is also passionate when it comes to educating people about the significance and severity of food allergies. She currently participates in the campaign Red Sneakers for Oakley. “Oakley was an 11-year-old who died last Thanksgiving after accidentally eating a piece of cake that had nuts in it,” Jordan’s mother, Stephanie, says. “Jordan has a huge heart and always wants to help those in need. She is often applauded for her positive attitude and is always the first person to congratulate her competitors on a job well done.” Jordan admits that her schedule is super busy—so many passions and interests while trying to practice, compete, and excel in what she does. However, this young lady seems to have all her ducks in a row and shares some insightful advice. “I surround myself with those who have contributed to my success,” Jordan concludes. “I have an amazing network of family and friends who support me and really get what I do. They all want to see me succeed. My biggest challenges are getting over my mental blocks when it comes to wakeboarding. There are so many things I know I can do … it’s just doing them. I often overanalyze and overthink things. This is a challenge for me. I just need to let go and do instead of think sometimes!”
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A straight-A student at Sherrills Ford Elementary, Jordan is involved with the digital leadership club and is on the robotics team, hoping to follow in her father’s footsteps and become an engineer. She has many wakeboard sponsors including C4 Belts, SheShreds.co, Liquid Force, and IcyWakes Surf Shop in Cornelius. And when she’s not practicing, competing, or conquering a number of other projects, she makes and sells crafts and baked goods to benefit The Humane Society.
I JUST NEED TO LET GO AND DO INSTEAD OF THINK SOMETIMES! By: Leslie Ogle
JUNE 2017 |
a i h Sop
a i o i G i D
YOU WILL NEVER INFLUENCE THE WORLD BY TRYING TO BE LIKE IT.
Born in southern New Jersey, Sophia DiGioia has lived in the Lake Norman area since she was just a baby—when her family moved here—and that suits her just fine! “I live on Lake Norman and love to paddleboard first thing in the morning,” Sophia says. “I turn on my music, enjoy God’s creation, and let the peacefulness of the water wash my stresses away.” Sophia is a junior at Davidson Day School and is particularly interested in theater and psychology. Most recently, she has been volunteering and fostering dogs for HATS (Helping Animals To Survive), a rescue organization that saves pets out of local shelters. An ambassador with Young Elites, she hones her leadership skills to aid her in the pursuit of her most passionate cause: preventing teen suicide.
Exceptionally altruistic, Sophia is involved with Davidson Lifeline, a local organization that educates and advocates for those affected by mental illness and suicide. As a student representative for her school, she speaks to classmates about strategies for identifying and helping those at risk. “A person who made a huge impact in my life was a dear friend whom I’d known since kindergarten,” Sophia says. “She was so effervescent and seemed so confident, but she committed suicide two years ago. She taught me by her life to take risks and be bold, and by her death to help those who are hurt and vulnerable.”
Having this tragedy touch her life at such a young age propelled Sophia toward her interest in psychology, intrigued by learning the complexities of the human mind. Whether it is in theater or psychology, these disciplines have her undivided attention. “Both subjects involve getting into someone’s head,” she says. “In theater, I’m trying to portray a character in a way that is believable to the audience. In psychology, I am trying to understand the psyche and make those personality traits believable to me. If I can understand what motivates people, I can become better as both an actress and as someone who can counsel others.” Sophia would like to attend Appalachian State or another North Carolina university. She plans to continue her work in suicide education and prevention and is considering a major in criminal justice, cyberbullying, forensics, or a field in animal cruelty investigation. Regardless, one thing is for certain: Her tenacity and compassion will prevail. “God is good,” she smiles. “It is easy to feel overwhelmed in life, but the spirit of my friend is always a reminder of two things: to live life with purpose, and to know that people will depend on me so I need to be there for them. I want people to know it’s ok to be yourself; don’t change yourself to be like others. You will never influence the world by trying to be like it. And don’t let fears and other people get in your way. Take risks!”
| JUNE 2017
By: Leslie Ogle
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JUNE 2017 |
Jordan Jordan, who moved to Mooresville from Florida last June with parents Dr. Brett Feldman and Brett Dunne-Feldman, began volunteering at age 12 at a local cat shelter. She volunteered there for nearly two years, and then volunteered at the YMCA as a cheer coach. In 2016, in part because of her dedication to volunteering, Jordan was awarded the Bronze and Silver Congressional Awards for her achievements in volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/ exploration. There are multiple levels of the Congressional Awards, however, and Jordan set her sights on the gold. She volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and the Humane Society in Mooresville, gaining the additional hours needed and met the other requirements of the award as well. This spring, U.S. Representative Robert Pittenger presented her with the Gold Congressional Award, and she will travel to Washington D.C. this month for a special ceremony. “I’ve learned so much from this experience,” Jordan says. “I’ve learned leadership skills and responsibility, but mostly I’ve learned how good it feels to give back!” The Congressional Award medal is not the only one in Jordan’s trophy case, however. A straight-A student, she took the SAT in seventh grade with the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP), earning a medal for her high score. She’s already thinking about college, completing a neuroscience course with Brown University last summer and applying for an internship in neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill this summer. “I love that science is constantly changing and developing in new ways and that I could be involved in making new discoveries one day,” she says of her plans to earn either a PhD or a medical degree in neuroscience.
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And let’s not forget the medal Jordan won in the Junior Olympics. Cheering since age 5, Jordan decided to give tumbling and trampoline a try when she was 11. She was a natural, qualifying for the competition in 2015, where she finished sixth overall. Returning to cheer, Jordan’s goal was to make the varsity squad at her new school in Lake Norman, even though it meant trying out by video from her Florida home. As it turned out, the video was not the only challenge— Jordan suffered a leg injury requiring surgery six weeks before tryouts. With a smile on her face and alternating legs when she could, Jordan tried out anyway: “It was definitely difficult for me to do some of the motions, but it proved to be a small challenge in the long run because I was determined to do what I set out to do, regardless of my injury.”
e’re all given the same amount of time in a day, the difference is how we choose to use it. Jordan Feldman, a rising junior at Lake Norman High School, chose to spend 400 hours of her time volunteering.
Clearly there is nothing that will hold Jordan back. And though she has faced obstacles, her recipe for success is fairly simple: “Follow your dreams and be intuitive to your own thoughts!”
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS & BE INTUITIVE TO YOUR OWN THOUGHTS! By: Dana Nieters
JUNE 2017 |
a l l e b Isa
t age 13, my friends and I would buy rubyred lip gloss and black liquid eyeliner with our babysitting money and then paint our faces with it during homeroom because our mothers forbid us to wear it. Just imagine what we could have accomplished with that time if we focused on our studies instead—we would all be rocket scientists! If only we had a friend back then like Isabella Frommelt. Isabella realized there were far more important things she could be concentrating on rather than the application of makeup during her senior year at Hough High. After trying a new makeup technique and receiving compliments on it, Isabella felt uneasy rather than pleased. “Why do I never receive compliments on my bare face?” she wondered. But then she realized she never gave anyone that opportunity; her natural face was always hidden behind a mask of sorts: her makeup. Isabella decided to see what would happen if she went to school with no makeup at all. This time, she not only found delight in the compliments she
| JUNE 2017
received, she found a new confidence within herself—and inspiration. “I decided to start a No Makeup Week at school to help girls learn to love their bare faces, blemishes and all. If they learned to do that, they could focus on their inner beauty and not have to live up to what media or popular culture sets as the standard,” Isabella explains. The response to Isabella’s no-makeup movement was overwhelmingly positive. More than 50 girls, and a few teachers, participated. Because of its success, Isabella, who is also a talented actor, made a 15-minute documentary about the week to spread the word to other girls that the only boundaries they face are those they place upon themselves: “The world is filled with standards and limitations, some of which are meant to be broken,” Isabella asserts. “I want young girls to be confident and be themselves. I want them to break those barriers that are holding them back, to go where their
heart guides them, and to do what their imagination tells them.” Isabella’s heart pulls her toward theater and storytelling. “I’m amazed by how words on paper can be woven into a story that breathes life into characters; I love how a story can come to life and onto a stage,” she says. Currently studying theater and communications at Catawba College, where she is part of the honors program, she hopes to one day combine her love for the arts and her passion for cultural and societal awareness by bringing true-life stories to films and documentaries. For now, though, she’s perfecting the art of being a college student: hanging out with her friends and chatting about life, watching movies, and playing Mario Kart. And she’s working on taking the No Makeup Week to her college campus as well: “As girls we need to understand that the only way to love and be kind to others is by first loving ourselves!” By: Dana Nieters
JUNE 2017 |
VISIT OUT OF TIME ESCAPE
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where are they
Grace DeSena (2015) then
Grace was a high school honor roll senior who excelled in dance and art. Grace is sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill on a pre-medicine track. She is majoring in exercise and sport science with a double minor in Spanish for the medical professions and chemistry.
Rachel Gebelein Mulock (2013) then
Rachel was the 2013 Miss Mecklenburg County, who was studying music and Spanish.
Rachel was married on July 30, 2016. She is a middle school Spanish teacher in Durham, and still works with the Miss America Organization as contestant coordinator for Miss Central Carolina/Miss Thomasville.
Mongai Fankam (2015) then
Eight-year-old Mongai started the No Backpack Day initiative and is a cofounder of A Place of Hope, which supports orphans and vulnerable children in Cameroon, Africa.
now | JUNE 2017
A Carolina International School eighth grader, Mongai continues to promote her No Backpack day initiative and has collected more than 10,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for children in Cameroon, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, South Africa and locally in North Carolina. In January, Mongai and President Joyce Banda of Malawi, Africa, gave a presentation at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Global Citizenship in Washington D.C.
Analise Malick (2014) then
Analise was a 14-year-old Mt. Mourne Middle student with a brand new recording contract.
A Davidson Day School junior, Analise has performed throughout North Carolina and Tennessee with The Glass Hammers. In 2016, Analise spent 10 days at the University of Southern California at GRAMMY Camp LA; and 5 weeks at The Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she was awarded a scholarship to a five-week performance program. Also, she is finalizing an album of original pop songs.
Photo was taken from GRAMMY Camp LA 2016.
Ally Miller (2012) then
Ally was an eighth grader, who had successfully created the Think Pink Dog Show to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.
Diana quilted her way into our hearts with her plan to create and donate 16 quilts for teens who age out of foster care.
This Hough senior has chosen to attend UNC Chapel Hill. President of Hough’s National Honor Society, vice president of DECA, and co-editor of the yearbook, Ally recently toured the Pentagon and attended the presidential inauguration.
A junior at Lake Norman High School, Diana has recently completed the Girl Scout Gold Award project, “Diana’s Golden Needle.” With the support from her Facebook page, Diana has been able to donate 245 quilts across North Carolina, including 20 baby quilts sent to a special needs orphanage in her birth country, Russia.
JUNE 2017 |
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JUNE 2017 |
TEENAGE DAUGHTER By: Maddie Reber
M OT H E R S A N D DA U G H T E R S
have a special bond that can either bring them together or force them apart. After all, we all can’t have the perfect parent-child relationship of Rory and Lorelai Gilmore of Gilmore Girls. I’m a teenager, and I admit that we can be confusing. For instance, your teenage daughter may constantly tell you the same things over and over, such as every day when you ask, “How was school?” and all she says is “Fine,” even though you know a lot more happened than that. You might even get an eye roll, too. But don’t worry! I’m going to help you decode what’s going on in your teenage daughter’s head. Have you ever asked your daughter if there is a “special someone” at school? If so, I bet she replied with a flatlined “No.” But the truth is, there usually is a special someone at school. We don’t tell you because we don’t want you to spill our oh-so-important secret should you run into the boy’s mother at the supermarket. And heaven forbid you accidentally slip the secret to our dad. That’s our worst nightmare! So yes, we’re a bit protective of our boy crushes … Please don’t be offended if we don’t want to tell you everything. I bet you also wonder why your teenage daughter spends so much time in her room. You probably try to get her to come down and hang out with the family but with no success, right? My mom tries
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Maddie Reber is a 14-year-old eighth grader at Lincoln Charter School in Denver and enjoys reading, writing, and her cats.
with me, too. I spend long periods of time in my room, not because I’m avoiding my family, but because I need to recharge. Your daughter is probably like me: After long days at school, we just need to be alone and relax. No offense, but sometimes the last thing we need is our mom barging in asking questions. It’s not that we don’t love you, I promise! But our room is our sanctuary. So just a word to the wise from this teenager: Knocking is always appreciated! We will eventually come down from our hibernation or open up about our day, but on our own time.
Now, about advice and opinions. Most teenagers have styles we like that our mothers don’t care for. Because of that, we don’t always like the clothes our moms pick out. It’s not personal! It’s just different tastes—go easy when urging her to try a dress she doesn’t like. Actually, that goes for just about anything, really: We know you’re trying to help, but timing is everything, particularly if you want to avoid an argument. We’ll be more receptive to your advice if you wait until we ask (We will). We’ll also be more receptive if you’re careful about making assumptions (Just because other girls act a certain way doesn’t mean we all do). I agree: Teenage daughters can be difficult. Just remember that your daughter is different than you when you were her age. Respecting those differences can go a long way in making sure the bond the two of you form brings you closer together.
JUNE 2017 |
PA I D A DV E RT I S E M E N T
a Q & A on Women’s Pelvic Health
ASK THE EXPERT: Q: How
do I get my MOJO back? Is there a female Viagra?
BY DR. JOHN HETTIARACHCHI
Touch®, which is a fractional CO2 laser that takes ﬁve minutes to perform. Our clinic was the ﬁrst in Charlotte to use this treatment and has the most experience in providing this vaginal laser therapy to revitalize vaginal tissue back to premenopausal age.
A: You can get your MoJo back! In fact, we offer a number of treatments that can help with vaginal looseness and the loss of sensation during intimacy that can accompany it. Most patients start with Kegel exercises to help strengthen the pelvic muscles. Unfortunately, though, Kegels don’t work for every woman. Our ofﬁce is currently working with an effective, non-surgical option called Geneveve™ that helps to rebuild the collagen and elastic tissue in the vaginal canal. I’ve recently traveled to Hong Kong and seen its effectiveness there, but it has been used in other places around the world such as Asia, Europe, and South America for many years with great results. Geneveve™ is a unique treatment with a combination cryo (cooling) application on the surface and deep radiofrequency technology that helps stimulate an increase in collagen production along the vaginal opening, which helps tighten the area. It has been shown in studies to restore sexual arousal and sensation. Another groundbreaking technology to treat vaginal atrophy and painful intercourse is the MonaLisa
There are additional options as well. We also use ThermiVA™ to revitalize the vaginal lining and increase lubrication, making intercourse more pleasurable. ThermiVA™ is also a radiofrequency technology and takes approximately 30 minutes. The Orgasm Shot®, or O-Shot®, procedure is a very speciﬁc method of using blood-derived growth factors to rejuvenate the vagina to help relieve women with urinary incontinence and sex problems. We inject the patients’ own special blood products into the clitoris and G-spot to enhance the orgasm. We have combined the O-Shot® with the other vaginal therapy options to restore sexual wellness. Patients choose us for their care because we offer multiple technologies, and each patient’s care is individualized to meet that person’s needs. In addition, my experience as a urologist and reconstructive surgeon specializing in female pelvic medicine is unsurpassed in this region. Moreover, it is the mission of our entire team to make each person feel welcome, comfortable, and cared for. Our patients are saying such things as, "I’m having sex like I'm 20 again!" In other words, their mojo is back! Now what about you? Move over, Viagra, and let’s work on getting your mojo back, too!
Dr. John Hettiarachchi, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, is board certiﬁed in Urology and Urological Surgery and subspecialty certiﬁed in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. The Charlotte Center for Pelvic Health is the ﬁrst and only pelvic specialty practice in the Charlotte region offering multiple cutting-edge non-hormonal, non-surgical therapies.
19901 W. Catawba Ave., Suite 201, Cornelius
JUNE 2017 |
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NMLS# 135191 | Element Funding NC/SC Area Manager | PRMI | Chairmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Club Office 704.728.0191 | Cell 704.929.7718 | Efax 704.625.3776
Qualifications and program restrictions apply. Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc., DBA Element Funding, NMLS #3094. PRMI is an Equal Housing Lender. Some products and services may not be available in all states. Credit and collateral are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change and are subject to borrower(s) qualification. This is not a commitment to lend. North Carolina Commissioner of Banks L-112833. South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs MLS3094, As Element Funding MLS-3094 OTN#1.
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