Community members ‘shine like diamonds’ during annual Charity Ball

Tupelo's Outstanding Citizen of the Year is announced during the gala

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – The 60th annual Charity Ball theme was “A Grand Gala: Helping Our Community Shine Like Diamonds”.

And that is precisely what guests did, as well as the “Living Ads”, senior girls from Tupelo and Lee County schools who represented businesses that donated to the JA’s mission of serving children.

It’s a big night for the young ladies.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to represent a great business and give back to the kids around us,” said Laklyn Nichols who represented Spray Tans By Jess.

“I’ve seen many girls throughout high school, when I was a freshman going up and taking pictures and walking across the stage in pretty dresses and I was like, “I want to be them,” said Jayden Gray who represented Bliss Boutique.

“I would like to be a living ad to get to give back to who I am representing. I wanted to be an orthodontist because he gave me braces and was able to give me more confidence due to having braces, so I want to be an orthodontist as well,” said Hasna Raymond who represented North Mississippi Orthodontic Associates.

After nearly 200 Living Ads had crossed the stage and before dinner was served, it was time for the outstanding citizen of the year announcement.

Lisa Hawkins is the owner of Room to Room Furniture and has been a teacher and a volunteer for many nonprofits.

Hawkins said she was surprised at the honor.

“The community has done so much for me and it’s my opportunity to give back and it’s the joy of giving. I’m the one who is blessed and has so much fun serving others, it’s kind of in my nature I guess, it is more blessed to give than to receive because being able to help somebody else, and make a difference in their life there’s no greater joy,” Hawkins said.

“Mrs. Hawkins has been a value to our community, a hero to us, she was a president, volunteer of the year, and she has helped with Regional Rehab, Sanctuary Hospice. Name a nonprofit in our community and she helps with them,” said Nicole McLaughlin, president of the Junior Auxiliary of Tupelo.

The Charity Ball always wraps up with dinner and dancing, but all throughout the year the impact of the event and its supporters is felt by families all throughout the region.

The Charity Ball raises money for all nine community projects of the Tupelo Junior Auxiliary.

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