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Alabama Public Television Young Heroes of 2014

China Ponter

Decatur, Alabama
River City Christian Academy

An abandoned baby in China was delivered to an orphanage by the police. When Tony and Corley Ponter came to adopt her, she was timid and frightened, hiding behind the orphanage workers. Evidence of scars indicated that she had suffered severe burns while in the orphanage. Given to the loving care of the Ponters, she became their daughter, China.

Although her father had stable employment as a chemist during her early years, he experienced the loss of several jobs when the economy plunged. The family suffered other setbacks: China’s mother was hospitalized for an aggressive form of breast cancer, and the family home burned to the ground. These circumstances left China with extraordinary responsibilities for a girl her age. She stepped up to prepare the grocery lists. With the help of her younger sisters, she cooks the meals and attends to household chores. China even maintains a garden to increase the family’s food supply. With all of these responsibilities, China continued to excel in academics and as an accomplished violinist and guitarist serving her community in many ways.

China has maintained a 4.0 grade point average. She is a member of the National Honor Society for High School Scholars, as well as the Decatur Youth Symphony and the Calhoun Community College Guitar ensemble. Her community service is extensive, ranging from knitting and crocheting blankets for a prayer shawl ministry to classical guitar concerts at nursing homes to cleaning houses and cooking meals for elderly and homebound people. She tutors in ESL (English as a Second Language) and violin. Her nominators, Dr. James Montgomery and wife Ellen wrote, “China participates in all of her activities in a quiet and humble way. When she sees a need, she works to fulfill it with no regard for self-praise.”

China plans to pursue a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology. To that end, she is enrolled in pre-med courses at Calhoun Community College. By the time she finishes high school, she will already have completed three semesters of college. Associate Pastor Roger Jenkins of Decatur’s First Baptist Church said of her, “China has proved to me that she has the potential to be successful in whatever she pursues in life because she has the intelligence, the personality, the leadership qualities, the desire, and the determination to achieve excellence and success in everything she does.”

It is not the obstacles we face in life that define us, but our response to them. For her courage, wisdom, perseverance and commitment to excellence in the face of extraordinary difficulties, China Porter is recognized by her community and our state as one of the 2014 Young Heroes of Alabama.

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