By Karl Younkman
To be invited to attend the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic in Memphis TN. would be exciting enough for a young high school student. To be able to watch a great college game and be honored at halftime would be something to remember for a lifetime.
For Wellington High senior Jaedyn Ledesma the most exciting and rewarding part of the trip will happen before the football game kicks off. Mississippi State plays Rice at 3 p.m. on ESPN.
Jaedyn was chosen to attend through America’s Homecoming Queens National Pageant Registry and recognized as one of the top Queens in the state and region of the country. The selection is based on academic achievements, community activities, and all-around status as an outstanding individual. Jaedyn was crowned Homecoming Queen this past fall on the football field.
Jaedyn spoke Saturday about her upcoming trip. “I was excited to be chosen because of the tour we will take of St. Jude’s,” Jaedyn said.
Jaedyn helped found the Momentum Movement here in Wellington which is dedicated to helping people who need a helping hand. “We’ve helped raise money for people to help with medical issues,” said Jaedyn. “And we helped send a local woman recently to realize her dream to swim with the dolphins. It’s just people who want to help and make a difference.”
On Monday, the Queens will tour St. Jude Children’s Hospital and visit with the children who are patients. Jaedyn’s mother Linda confirms the reason of Jaedys excitement. “She is looking forward to the hospital and the patients and parents,” said Linda. “I’ll venture to guess she has no idea who is playing in the bowl game. Because the hospital is why she wants this experience.”
Jaedyn’s love of kids is obvious. “Our last recent project for Momentum was to make 85 stockings for kids at Christmas,” said Jaedyn. She also is a volunteer at the Rec Center as a youth basketball coach. She coaches not one, but two teams. “Jaedyn is also very involved with her aviator church,” Linda said of her daughter.
Jaedyn is also active on the sports competitive fields as many in Wellington are aware of. She’s currently on the basketball team and this fall in Cross Country she went to State. And she broke the school record, setting a time of 15 minutes 53 seconds. The record she broke was her sister’s, J’Lynn. “That was kind of cool to do that,” said Jaedyn. “ She was awesome.”
Page 2 of 2 - Jaedyn hits the books too. She’s at the top of her class in academics and also was voted senior class president. But it’s the community service that seems to drive her.
“The best things in life are free,” says Jaedyn. “They say you get more satisfaction from visiting kids who need our help. And I really am excited to do that and try to help.”
Besides the hospital tour, the Queens will be welcomed Sunday at the Double Tree in Memphis and later on Monday will participate in the Bowl Parade. Again, Jaedyn will look to the children. “Some of the kids from St. Jude’s will ride on the float with us,” said Jaedyn.
And then at halftime of the football game the Queens will be honored and participate in the musical presentation. And it will be on the TV! If you happen to miss it though, Jaedyn is taking a friend with her to record the event. “Tyler Benson is traveling with me to help out and take pictures,” said Jaedyn. “He’s a member of the Momentum Movement also and is a really good friend.”
Wellington certainly will be looking forward to hearing about Jaedyn’s experience when she returns on New Year’s Day.