Gadsden’s Serendipity Dance Club is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Each year, the club selects outstanding young singles who are recognized at Serendipity’s summer ball at the Gadsden Country Club. Funds from the event benefit the fine arts in Gadsden.
In years past, the funds generated were used to support the Callan Concert Association and the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra.
In 1998, “The Serendipity Stage” was built in the courtyard of the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts. Over the next several years, the club commissioned artists Steve Temple, Rob Johnston and Mario Gallardo to paint the trompe l’oeil murals on the walls of the courtyard. Serendipity also provided support for the iron balcony, wooden shutters, gas lanterns and planters in the courtyard.
Artist Joseph Giri, commissioned by Serendipity, completed a jazz mural on the wall in the Hardin Center’s rear parking area in 2012. The club also purchased a bronze sculpture of two children reading on a bench that resides under the courtyard’s magnolia tree and is in honor of the Gadsden Reads project.
During the Hardin Center’s 25th anniversary in 2015, Serendipity was a major sponsor of the Andy Warhol exhibition. In 2017, Serendipity funded new exterior lighting in the rear of the Hardin Center to illuminate the mural and provide a safe atmosphere for patrons and students. This year, Serendipity made a major contribution to funding the new student and parent lounge for those taking music, art and dance lessons at the Hardin Center. Serendipity also provides annual support to the Etowah Youth Orchestras.
The young adults who were honored June 15 at this year’s summer ball were:
• John Connor Abrams is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Abrams. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in business with a concentration in supply chain management at Auburn University. He is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He plans to continue pursuing his degree this summer while working at Abrams Architectural Products.
• Nolan Ryan Boatner is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Boatner. He attended the University of Alabama where he was member of the Crimson Tide football team and Kappa Alpha Order. He is employed by Ugo in Tuscaloosa.
• Parker Christopher Brown is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Brown. Parker is majoring in supply chain management at Auburn University. He will graduate from Auburn next fall with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a minor in mechanical engineering. Parker is a member of the Auburn Supply Chain Management Association and the Auburn University Formula One Team. Parker will be interning as a demand chain analyst this summer and fall in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Dollar General corporate office.
• Madison Lee Caldwell is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Caldwell. She graduated in May from the University of Alabama, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science in special education and elementary education. She was a member of the Honors College and Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. She also volunteered at the Rise Center and spent time in Mexico, Haiti and the Philippines, ministering to locals through street evangelism, construction, community outreach and teaching special education. She will be teaching fourth grade this fall at Oscar Adams Elementary School and will graduate from the University of Alabama with a Master of Special Education in May.
• Callie Mills Cochran is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Cochran. Callie graduated in May from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts with majors in public relations and political science and a minor in general business. At the university, she was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and was involved with the Student Government Association, University Stewards program and the Blackburn Institute. In the fall, Callie will be attending the School of Law at the university.
• John Todd Cross III is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Todd Cross Jr. He graduated from Auburn University in May with a Bachelor of Science in business administration and was a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. He is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and played intramural baseball and golf. He currently is living in Atlanta and employed by Schnitzer Steel Industries.
• John Derrick Dawson is the son of Bart and Melanie Dawson. He majored in political science at the University of Alabama where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order, treasurer of Alpha Phi Sigma, in the Criminal Justice Honor Society and chairman of the American Enterprise Institute. He also completed an internship with U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. He plans to attend law school and pursue a career in homeland security.
• James Gary Dial Jr. is the son of Dr. and Mrs. James Gary Dial. He graduated in May from Jacksonville State University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. He was an active member of Zeta Phi Eta Communications fraternity and president of Reformed University Fellowship. He will begin an internship with RUF at University of South Alabama in the fall.
• Allison Claire Dickson is the daughter of Stephen and Terrie Dickson. She graduated magna cum laude in May from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in accounting. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, Mortar Board, Order of Omega and Cardinal Key honor societies. She was a part of the university’s homecoming court, served as vice president of Culverhouse Ambassadors and was part of the university’s recruitment efforts for in-state students. She plans to attend the university this fall for one year to obtain her master’s degree in tax accounting. She will begin working for PriceWaterhouseCoopers in the fall of 2020.
• Keri Dianne Kelley is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rick Kelley. She graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University in August 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in communication disorders. Keri currently is pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology as a graduate student of Auburn University, where she is expected to graduate in May 2020. Keri was a member of Phi Mu Sorority, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also served as an advanced undergraduate research assistant and education facilitator. She plans to work in the Auburn University Speech and Hearing Clinic over the summer.
• Bayleigh Marie Phillips is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Phillips. Bayleigh will be graduating from Jacksonville State University in Spring 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in child development. She is president of the Catholic Students Organization at JSU and has made the President’s or Dean’s Lists every year since her freshman year. She enjoys volunteering at Camp Smile-a-Mile and raising money and awareness for pediatric cancer. Her plan for the future is to work at Children’s Hospital as a child-life specialist, where she can give back to a profession that greatly impacted her own journey.
• Alexandria Quinn Porter is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Porter. She graduated in May from Birmingham-Southern College with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. She was a member of the non-executive board of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, a member of the college’s pre-health honor society, Alpha Epsilon Delta, competed for two years on the women’s golf team and enjoyed many research and internship opportunities while at Birmingham-Southern. She volunteered at Children’s Hospital of Alabama, the Jefferson County Department of Health, First Light Women’s Shelter of Birmingham, Cahaba Valley Healthcare and the Lakeshore Foundation. She was honored as a member of the Dean’s List and currently is pursuing research in her field of study, and plans to pursue a career in medicine.
• Katherine Grace Ryan is the daughter of Dr. Daniel Ryan and Mrs. Melissa Tinsley. She graduated with honors from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society in education. She plans to work in Gadsden over the summer before moving to Atlanta in the fall to pursue a career in education.
• Chloe Ann Saunders is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Saunders. She will graduate from Auburn University next spring with a Bachelor of Science in industrial and systems engineering. She is an Auburn football athletic recruiter, a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and a Young Life leader at Auburn Junior High School and Pace Academy in Atlanta. She works on campus as an engineering peer advisor and also is a member of two engineering clubs, the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and 100 Women Strong. In the fall, she will finish out her third rotation of co-oping at Delta Air Lines and will serve more than 70 co-ops as the Delta Co-op Committee president. She hopes to pursue a career with Delta upon graduation and continue traveling to countries around the world.