To create a learning environment for children at F. E. Burleson Elementary School in Hartselle, Marissa provided birdhouses for their outdoor classroom. In preparation for her Gold Award project, she researched birds and their habitats, which houses were best suited for the area and how to construct them, as well as educational information to share with the students. The birdhouses gave the children opportunities to observe and care for the birds, which they enthusiastically enjoyed, and added to the beautification of the school. Marissa discovered how to be flexible when she had to reschedule plans due to inclement weather and coordinate with volunteers and participants. “I learned that I can be assertive when necessary,” she said, “and how to persevere through the rough spots and stay positive.”
Marissa is the daughter of Virginia of Hartselle and graduated from Hartselle High School in May 2009; she is now a freshman at the University of Alabama.