NSA student second local to receive WAVY honor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2005

It was the summer of 2003, and Carrie Shepheard was warming up for her fourth year in the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy band. The soon-to-be-junior Lady Saint had been the second chair in the percussion section the year before, and her predecessor had graduated, leaving Shepheard and her trusty snare drum to take over the top spot.

Tapping her sticks across the instrument, Shepheard noticed some pain and stiffness in her wrists. The feelings didn’t go away, and that fall, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

&uot;I was scared, but more confused,&uot; she recalls. &uot;I didn’t think people my age could get that.&uot;

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She was given pills, but they didn’t work. Injections were prescribed, and the pain finally lessened. Meanwhile, Shepheard continued to lead her fellow percussionists through not only NSA’s football games on Friday nights, but at the Peanut Fest as well.

That’s one reason why WAVY TV-10 recently named her its Hampton Roads Young Achiever of the Week (Lakeland’s Amy Brinkley got the honor in February). But it’s one of many.

&uot;Carrie’s positive attitude has been evident as she has continued to work with younger band members in the percussion section,&uot; wrote her uncle Greg Prescott while nominating her for the award in September. &uot;She has been determined to keep up her grades. She has been determined to excel.&uot;

And not just in the musical sense.

Shepheard worked as a volunteer instructor at John Yeates Middle School over summer 2002, then volunteered at the Mariner’s Museum the next two years, taking kids on tours and helping them with opportunities. She’s worked with Relay for Life since 2000, and with the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society since 2002 (last weekend, she and her group took Civil War days visitors on cemetery tours).

She plays soccer at NSA, works as a peer counselor and is the treasurer of the National Honor Society and member of the Key Club. She’s got a 4.0 grade point average, and hopes to attend either North Carolina State, Old Dominion University or the University of Virginia and study engineering.

While there, she also intends to continue her music career.

&uot;Probably not the marching band at first,&uot; she says. &uot;Not until I adjust to (college). But I’ll probably be in the pep band, which plays at pep rallies.&uot;

Two weeks ago, Shepheard heard a message on her home answering machine, letting her know that she’d won. This Sunday, she’ll be featured on the WAVY news’ weekly segment.

&uot;(Being nominated) was kind of in the back of my mind,&uot; she admits. &uot;But it was still exciting to be picked.&uot;