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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Berkshire Profile: Kasey Wooten Meeting Milestones

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kasey Wooten
Welcome to Berkshire Profile, an iberkshires weekly feature appearing on Sunday. Each week, iberkshires will highlight a Berkshires resident or entity making a contribution to the Berkshires way of life.

Adams - Kasey Wooten, 17, is almost midway through what may well be one of the most exciting years of her life.

Wooten is a Hoosac Valley High School senior and, with a 95.7 grade point average, she is ranked fourth in her graduating class. Her course load consists of four advanced placement [AP] classes: European History, calculus, psychology, and British Literature.

Two electives round out Wooten's academic agenda; she is tackling anthropology and Women's Studies by choice.

"I genuinely enjoy learning," Wooten said during an Oct. 20 interview at the high school.

Wooten is eagerly anticipating two milestones within the upcoming two weeks. On Nov. 4, she will celebrate her 18th birthday and on Nov. 7, she will vote during the mid-term election.

Generation Of Change

Casting a first-time general election ballot is more than a symbolic gesture for Wooten. She is accomplished, articulate, informed, and has convictions that she is willing to share.

"I want the country to move forward," Wooten said. "I want equal rights for all, especially gay rights. I have a lot of friends who are gay. I believe that we are the generation of change, and I think we are the generation that will fight for gay rights."

Wooten equated the current gay rights battles to the long-fought, much-opposed fights for women's voting rights and the bitter divides over civil rights and segregation.

"I think we will look back in 25 years and not understand why [gay citizens] were not afforded these rights," she said.

She is not afraid to speak out and speak up, she said.

Among Wooten's heroes is Alice Paul [Jan. 11, 1885 - July 9, 1977], who was among the women at the forefront of the women's suffrage campaign. In 1923, just a few years after women were granted the right to vote, Paul was one of the authors of a proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

To this day, no version of an ERA has been ratified by the 50 states and commonwealths that comprise the United States of America.

"Alice Paul is one of my heroes," Wooten said. "I want to have just as much impact as she did. I am willing to fight for a cause I believe in. If you support a cause but are not willing to fight for it, you might as well not be for it."

Feelin' Grooov-y

Wooten supports substance-free lifestyles and is a co-chairwoman of the Grooove initiative. Wooten shares the leadership duties with Drury High School senior student Brittany Garner.

Grooove is open to Berkshire region youth and hosts numerous music events that feature regional artists and their music. All Grooove events are promoted as substance-free and performers must agree to the standard during Grooove performances. Those who attend the events are asked to remain substance-free as well.

"I love doing Grooove, it's one of my favorite activities," Wooten said. "I love music. It's helped me find out who I am and embrace myself as a person. Grooove embraces the youth of Berkshire County and their music. It's a safe way to have fun, and to show that you don't need drugs or alcohol to have fun."

"And when you see all the support, all the people who come to the events, you see that there are so many people who don't need drugs or alcohol to have fun."

Wooten said that the group's decade-long history is a strong indicator of a local youth desire to avoid illegal substances.

"Every year new people come to the Grooove," she said. "I want to do whatever I can to make it better. It's so great and I love doing it."

Wooten lives on Smith Street with her mom Linda Wooten and 13-year-old brother Taylor, a student at the Berkshire Arts and Technology charter school. She was born at North Adams Regional Hospital and the family moved from New York state to Adams when she was about a year old, she said. Wooten is employed at the Big Y supermarket in Adams.

Dancing Feet, Helping Hands

She is a member of the Berkshire Dance Theater and has studied dance with the troupe for 15 years.

"Right now I'm doing ballet, jazz, and modern dance," she said. "I have done pointe and tap."

Wooten has participated in numerous BDT dance recitals and performances; in 2005 she was a lead dancer in the company production of "8 Days A Week," and earlier this year, she danced the part of "Reva Volver" in a company presentation of "Clue."

"The most important thing about dance to me is my passion for it," she said. "It's helped teach me to be part of a team. And I can really attribute a lot of my success in school to what dance has taught me."

Wooten has shared her dance passion and talent with younger children. She has volunteered at the town's Youth Center since she was a high school freshman. Initially, Wooten assisted with cooking classes and arts and crafts activities and she was subsequently invited to instruct a creative movement dance class. The experience was very positive, she said.

"I took elements of ballet and jazz and used the elements with the kids," she said."I know some of the kids started taking dance classes after that, and that made me feel good, that there was a positive influence."

She does not believe that professional dance will be her career but does believe that she will incorporate dance into her adult life.

Current career considerations involve psychology or social services, she said.

"I like people, I like learning about people, and I like helping people," she said.

Among the colleges that can expect an application from Wooten are Boston College, Northeastern University, and Brandeis University, she said. Her father James Wooten is a graduate of Williams College.

She is a non-conformist with a clever fashion sense, a student of achievement, a youth leader who serves on the HVHS LEO Club and is president of the school debate team and the Student Council. She travels to concerts and is a fan of indie music, especially the band "Circa Sunrise."

"Sometimes All It Takes..."

She believes that the majority of the region's youth are underestimated.

"There's a preconceived notion that the teen-agers in the area don't care, that they are not assets to this area," she said."If teen-agers had more support, they might be able to accomplish better things. I thank all the people who have been supportive of me."

And while it may appear that Wooten has filled her almost-18 years with nothing but achievement, she noted that during her high school years "I have come face to face with failure."

"I don't think it is fair for me to assess what high school is to everybody but I can assess what it's been for me," she said. "The school is so small and I wish there was more diversity among the students. I'm definitely willing to accept everybody. Sometimes all it takes for people to accept you is if you accept other people."

Being true to herself and her interests has helped her navigate her teen years, she said.

"I've found that through succeeding academically and being involved in things, by continuing with dance, I've found people who share my interests," she said. "Most of my friends are involved in dance, and this year, six of my best friends who are dancers went to college."

Looking ahead to graduation means realizing that her high school days are approaching an end, and "life in the real world" is about to begin.

"I know that graduation means the end of high school, and that's sad," she said. "But I also feel that opportunities will explode, and that's good."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
Your Comments
Post Comment
Hey my name is casey wooten also im from oklahoma i was just being bored looking up my name and seen this website
from: Casey Wootenon: 05-10 00:00:00-2008

Ms. Wooten did register to vote by the deadline. According to Adams Town Clerk Paul Hutchinson, those who are going to be 18 years old by election day are able to register to vote, as long as they do so by the designated deadline. Ms. Wooten did exactly that. It is was my error to not state in the story that she is registered to vote. Susan Bush
from: susan bushon: 10-23 00:00:00-2006

Not to burst her bubble, because I'm sure she is a fine young lady, but didn't you have to register to vote by October 18th for the November 7th election? I believe the law says you need to be registered 20 days before all primaries and elections and 10 days before a special town meeting. The Secretary of State's website says "It is too late to register for the November 7th, 2006, State Election. The deadline to register for that election was October 18th, 2006."
from: Andy Etmanon: 10-23 00:00:00-2006


 
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