From being one of the first elementary school students to integrate during Alabama’s civil rights era to tackling large-scale renovations to multiple historic properties, four women shared stories of overcoming obstacles in their lives during a March 4 Homegrown Heroines event at the University of Montevallo.
During the event, which was held in recognition of International Women’s Day, panelists shared insights about their experiences as leaders and role models in the community. Dr. Deborah Lowry, UM sociology professor, served as moderator.
The panelists included:
-Stacia Brady, an administrative assistant in UM’s Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences who is a member of the Staff Senate and is chair of the Staff Grievance Council. Over the years, Brady has restored multiple dilapidated historic properties in central Alabama to their former glory.
-Dr. Hollie Cost, mayor of Montevallo and professor of special education at UM. Cost is the University’s coordinator of special education and served as a Montevallo City Council member for eight years before being elected as mayor in 2012.
-Julia Davis, a UM senior communication studies major and former chapter president of the Delta Gamma sorority at Montevallo. Davis serves as a Montevallo Master, a Maven, a junior admissions counselor, a member of the Food Advisory Committee and is heavily involved in College Night.
-Jackie Chappell, co-founder and co-owner of Montevallo’s Lucky Penny Boutique and lifelong resident of the city. Chappell was one of the first African American students to attend Montevallo Elementary School after desegregation and spent 29 years working with students with special needs at Montevallo Middle School.
During the event, the women encouraged those in attendance to follow their dreams and never give up, regardless of the adversity they face.
“Most of the time, people who make negative comments about you are judging a path they have not walked,” Cost said. “You have to be able to make peace with the decisions you make. That’s a powerful tool.”
The women spoke about their role models and encouraged attendees to show kindness to others.
“You never know what little piece of love you put into someone will mean 10 years from now,” Davis said. “You may never be aware of how much you really impact someone.”