Alabama Public Television Young Heroes of 2015

Sidney Mechelle Barlow

Samson, Alabama
Samson High School

Sidney is a senior at Samson High School. In her young life, she has already faced obstacles and difficulties that would stagger any adult.

Sidney was born to a single parent. During the first few months of her life, she was passed to various guardians, finally settling in the custody of her maternal grandparents. Sidney has lived with them for the last seventeen years, along with two younger children, in a household with an income of less than $1,000 per month.

As Sidney’s mother came in and out of her life, Sidney was repeatedly exposed to issues of domestic violence and substance abuse – resulting in her being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Since the age of 13, Sidney has aided in the supervision of her younger siblings, the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, and all school-related paperwork for the household.

In February of this year, Sidney, her grandmother and her two younger siblings were evicted from their home. Since then, Sidney and the children have been living with a neighbor. For the past six years, Sidney has worked local craft festivals, making and selling corn-husk dolls to supplement the family’s income.

Despite these extraordinary responsibilities, Sidney has maintained her studies and is ranked in the Top Ten of her class. Among her many school and civic accomplishments, she is a member of the FFCLA, the Library Club, the Yearbook Staff, and the YASC. She manages the Lady Tigers softball, basketball and volleyball teams. Sidney is also a member of the Samson Tiger Band. In her community, she volunteers with youth groups, food pantries, and numerous other service organizations. She worked with middle school students throughout the 2013-14 school year in an anti-bullying campaign that earned her the title of the FCCLA State Gold Winner.

In her nomination as Young Hero, teacher Amanda Sanders said of Sidney, “Even through all she has faced, her spirit has never been broken, and she is committed to furthering her education”

For persevering, succeeding and excelling in the face of extreme hardships Sidney Mechelle Barlow is recognized by her school and our state as one of the 2015 Young Heroes of Alabama.

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The Young Heroes Program is made possible through the support of:

Rosa Parks Museum
Blue Cross Blue Shiled of Alabama
Signs Now
Landers McLarty Chevolet
Medical Property Trust
Precision Graphics
SEI Group