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ALEF Selects Its Second Class of Fellows

The Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation (ALEF) has completed its selection process for the 2007 ALEF Beta Class.  This is the second year that ALEF has put together a group of young men and women from West Virginia who have extraordinary leadership, academic, and social skills and who have great potential to be the leaders in our communities, in government, and in our businesses.  Each new Fellow exhibited the core values ALEF espouses – integrity, excellence, and service.

2007 Beta Class


Dustin Blankenship

Concord University

aDustin is a graduate of Gilbert High School in Mingo County. While at Gilbert, Dustin was a member of the National Honors Society, the Debate team, the Yearbook committee, the National Society of High School Scholars, Young Democrats, National Poetry Society, World Leadership Congress, and Concert Band. Dustin has been a part of The Blankenships (professional Southern Gospel Group) as a baritone and a manager. In addition, he has served as a broadcaster for Faith 89.3 Radio, worked for Energy Express, and the Kiwanis Kids Connection. Dustin has received numerous awards that include the “Who’s Who Award for Academic Achievement, the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Dustin will attend Concord University in the fall and major in Pre-Law.


Sarah Crickenberger

Shepherd University

aSarah is a graduate of Philip Barber High School in Barber County. Sarah participated in the Governor’s Honors Academy, Future Teachers Academy, and her high school yearbook. She was a member of SGA, and the National Honors Society during her junior and senior years. She participated in Haven Hope Worship Center Youth Group and Energy Express Reading and Nutritional Program. Sarah was induced into Who’s Who as a tenth grader, and inducted into National Honors Society as a junior. She was on Principal’s Honor Roll all four years. Sarah received All-State Honorable Mention as a senior. Sarah will study Secondary English Education and Spanish in the fall at Shepherd University.


Heather Hall

Concord University

aHeather is a graduate from Tug Valley High School in Mingo County. At Tug Valley, Heather served as State President of the Beta Club, a class representative for Student Government, a HOBY Ambassador, and a Senior Girl Scout while playing softball, basketball, and volleyball. She was a participant in the Annual Blood Drive, the Food pantry at Parsley Bottom Freewill Baptist Church, Read To Me Day, and as a chaperone at Girl Scout events. She has received the Outstanding Volunteerism award as a Girl Scout, honorable mention in volleyball, and was on the 1st place county team in Math Field. Heather will attend Concord University in the fall and study Recreation and Tourism.


Darrell Johnson

Shepherd University

aDarrell is a graduate of Huntington High School in Cabell County. Darrell has an extremely positive outlook on everything, and this allows him to excel across many areas. His extensive volunteering and activities include the National Thespian Club, Upward Bound, Speech and Debate Team, and the Theatre Club. Darrell was the FCCLA States Culinary Arts winner in West Virginia, and he placed 15th nationally as a sophomore in high school. In addition, Darrell received the Ebony Essence Leadership Award as a junior, and he helped lead Huntington High to the Speech and Debate Regional Championship. Darrell will pursue a degree in Psychology from Shepherd University


Lauren Lambert

Concord University

aLauren is a graduate of Wyoming County East High School. Lauren Paige Lambert was involved in several activities at Wyoming East. She was a member of the cheerleading, soccer, and tennis teams. She also was involved in theatre and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She also participated and held offices in the Spanish Club, Science Club, and Student Government. Lauren participated in the Wyoming County Toy Fund, Church Pageants, Church Youth Choir, Vacation Bible School, and Energy Express. Lauren’s multiple interests and volunteer experiences will serve her well as she enters Concord University in the fall to study Pre-Med and Biology.



Dennis Lester

Concord University

aDennis graduated from Iaeger High School in McDowell County. Dennis was an active participant and member of Iaeger High. He was a member of the football team, where he played tight end. He also served as the vice president of the Student Council from grades 9-11 before being elected President his senior year. He also worked with Classic Upward Bound and Gear-Up throughout high school. Dennis was on the National Honor Roll for all 4 years at Iaeger High. He also was a Who’s Who Among High School Students for 4 years as well. Dennis was a member of the National Honors Society as a junior and senior. Dennis will enroll in the Pre-Med program at Concord University in the fall.


Kyle Lusk

Concord University

aKyle is a graduate of Westside High School in Wyoming County. Kyle was a dedicated athlete who participated in Football, Basketball, and Baseball for four years each. He was named captain of Westside’s basketball team. He was also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also served on the Pep Club and the Prom Committee. As an 11th and 12th grader, Kyle was a member of the National Honors Society. As a junior, Kyle earned the Concord University Book Award and he attended the Concord University Summer Academy. He also earned 2nd team Coalfield Conference Basketball as a junior.



Jeffrey Miller

Concord University

aJeffrey is a graduate of Huntington High in Cabell County. Jeffrey has been an active member of the Huntington community while playing for the West Virginia Premier Soccer Club. Jeffrey was a recipient of the Sportsmanship Region I Soccer Award for both the ninth and tenth grades. As a senior, he earned the position of Captain for his Huntington High soccer team. In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Jeffrey also was a member of the National Honors Society from his sophomore year to his senior year. Upon entering Concord University in the fall, Jeffrey will pursue a degree in Pre-Pharmacology and Biology.



Joshua Stafford

Concord University

aJoshua is a graduate of Westside High School in Wyoming County. While at Westside, Josh participated in the Pep Club, Science Club, Spanish Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Honor Guard. He earned letter in both baseball and football and was named captain of the football team. Some of Josh’s many volunteering activities included serving as a Church Camp Junior Leader, A Camp Counselor at the Westside Camp, working on Flood Recovery Assistance, and reading at the elementary school. Josh also worked as a Peer Mediator. Josh will study Pre-Med and Biology in the fall at Concord University.



Mitchell Tuggle

Concord University

aMitchell graduated from James Monroe High School in Monroe County. While at James Monroe, Mitch played on the schools football, basketball, and baseball teams for all 4 years. In addition, he also was a member of the National Honors Society from grades 10 through 12. Mitch is an active community member where he participates in Youth Group Drama, Fall Festival, and many other activities at Peterstown United Methodist Church. As a 10th grader, Mitch received the Who’s Who Among High School Students Award. As a senior, Mitch had a very successful football campaign where he received many accolades, including All Coal Field Conference Team in football. Mitch is currently majoring in General Studies as he enters Concord University in the fall.


Hannah Vass

Concord University

aHannah is a graduate of Greenbrier East High School in Greenbrier County.  As a ninth grader, Hannah was a National Junior Honors Society member before becoming a member of the National Honors Society for the next three years. She also served on SGA for four years, and was a member of the Mu Alpha Theta and the Debate Club. Hannah participated in Relay for Life, Girl Scouts, and Scout Day Camp. Her extensive participation and volunteering earned her the Girl Scouts Silver and Gold Awards. She also received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and the Who’s Who Among American High School Students. Hannah will major in Pre-Dental and Biology at Concord in the fall.


Jonelle Westbrook

Shepherd University

aJonelle is a graduate of Jefferson High School in Jefferson County. Jonelle has been a member of the Key Club, the Air Force Junior ROTC, Honor Guard, and First In Your Family Educational Sponsorship Program since entering Jefferson High. As a senior, Jonelle became a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. She was a member of Who’s Who Among High School Students from the 9th through the 11th grades. Jonelle has received numerous ribbons ands awards from the AFJROTC, and won first place at the Thespian Fair Countywide. Jonelle plans on majoring in Nursing as she enters Shepherd University in fall.



Emily Wilson

Concord University

aEmily is a graduate from Hurricane High School in Putnam County.  Emily played volleyball all four years at Hurricane as well as working on the technical crew for the Red Hot Show Choir. Emily also was a member of the Teenage Republican Club and Future Educators of America Club where she was vice-president. Emily volunteered for the Reach Work Camps and Putnam County Animal Relief as well as the Elementary Carnival. Some of Emily’s awards include being a two-time captain of the Varsity Volleyball team, a Who’s Who Among High School Students from grades ten through twelve, and an Academic Achievement Recipient at Hurricane High. In the fall, Emily will major in Education at Concord University.

Meet the Fellows from other classes.