Brave Lasses

Kathryn W. Austin, PhD, MA, RDE

Kathryn Austin Kathryn is the President/Director at Centre for Dance & the Performing Arts. A single mother of three, Austin divides her time between her family, her studio, coaching of over 40 highland dancers, serving in Lay Leadership in her church, presenting at conference through the U.S. and abroad for dance education. Kathryn was an integral part of our Games’ early years as the daughter of founding council members, Andrea and Ken White. She also competed at our very first games winning the trophy that moved her into Novice. It was only her 3rd competition and the stage had been set for a life-long commitment to highland dancing. Years later she served on the Board and ran the dancing until passing it on to her students. Austin has attended nearly every Central Florida gathering in the past 38 years. Her competition years yield upwards of 125 medals, a few dozen trophies and six Best Florida Dancer awards. Today she is a Fellow and Life Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing with award winning dancers at all level including a dozen USIR representatives throughout her teaching tenure. Dr. Austin’s research and practice is focused on dance education in terms of curriculum choice and instructional design. Her recently awarded PhD in Comparative Studies, Fine and Performing Arts, is the culmination of six years of commuting 220 miles each way to complete her coursework, teaching obligations and research while parenting three children, remaining active in her speaking engagements, and running her business. Those 96,000 miles are a testament to a “can do” attitude that certainly flows from Austin’s Scottish Heritage. Austin is a Life Member of Clan Sutherland and boasts an even stronger connection to her Cameron roots. This year Dr. Austin has been named as a committee member of the Council on Social Principles of the United Methodist Church and will begin that service in D.C. next weekend. In addition, Austin serves on the Board of Directors for Dance and the Child-International USA and National Dance Education Organization.

Amy Hartman

Amy Hartman This 28 year-old mighty mover of monoliths, heavy metal and mayhem started lifting weights at age 15 at Winter Springs High School where she was undefeated and 4 time State Champion. In 2004, she joined the USA Olympic Team and later coached girls weightlifting for three years at Winter Springs High. Amy began powerlifting in 2011. At the 2014 Arnold Classic she was a multiple winner squatting 600 lbs., benching 435 lbs. and dead lifting 465 lbs. At the recent Strongman Nationals in Las Vegas, Amy placed third overall enduring multiple strength events including dead lifting 500 lbs. 3 times within 12 seconds.....Ouch! Most important to us, in the Boulder Boogie competition, Amy currently holds the top women’s field record, Goddess of the Trolls, for carrying our 178 lb. boulder 120 feet. If you need your strength and spirit lifted you can find Amy at the Iron House Gym in Davenport, FL, just beyond Disney World. Bravo to Amy for being a benching Brave Lass!

Kathy Wilson

Kathy WilsonBorn in Carluke, Scotland, Kathy moved with her Jackson clan to Sarasota in 1982. Her mother, Sheila Jackson, opened the Scots Corner store in 1984, but by 1994 Sheila’s illness forced Kathy to help while also holding a highly demanding sales rep job and raising three young children. Stretched too far Kathy had to make a career change. She hit the high roads with Scots Corner in truck and trailer traveling across America coast to coast, vending at over 40 Highland Games a year. Braving extreme weather, car problems, thousands of miles and a lost trailer, Kathy persisted in sharing her Scottish heritage with countless Games goers. Kathy added one more notch in her Brave belt by serving the Sarasota Highland Games as President the last four years. As usual, you can find Kathy at the Scots Corner tent providing the crowd with great Scottish stuff.

Haley Davis

Davis A highland-hearted dancer since age four, Haley the Heroic has handled a heap of hurt to pursue her dream...to dance in Scotland. Sever's Disease continues to weaken her ankles--one suffered five breaks in 18 months. This lionhearted leaper pushes through pain to achieve the gain. Her doctor considers her an utmost inspiration to those with similar challenges. Haley's angelic hugs help younger dance students at the school where her teacher, Judy Hackett, considers Haley one of her best students ever, partly because of the aforementioned love, kindness and bravery from a lass who never complains. At home, she further enhances the lives of her grandparents who have special medical needs. This honor roll student handles extra household duties including massages for the hands and feet of her grandma so she can sleep. Haley helps grandpa in the garden. She has a 175 pound pet wolf! who dances with danger, Haley Davis is truly a Brave Lass.

Caitlyn Boyd

Boyd Before the premier of the Disney Pixar movie Brave, Caitlyn won the "Merida" look-alike contest in Scotland last June, defeating hundreds of entries. For an aspiring performer, a door was opened. Her many talents include dancing (ballet, jazz, highland, tap & modern), piano, violin and singing. She has appeared on TV and in many musicals during the past 7 years with lead roles in several including Les Miserables (Madame Thenardier), as well as having appeared as "Merida" at numerous events. In England she is active with project DEBRA, a childrens's charity that battles "EB" (epidermolysis bullosa), an often fatal genetic skin blistering condition. Not one to stand still, Caitlyn went to Ghana, Africa to help with an orphanage. Caitlyn is a busy lass trying to shape her destiny, yet neither crazed critters nor cunning clans can keep her from hitting the bullseye. Our thanks to Caitlyn for being so brave, inspiring the youth, our future to save. We declare you a Brave Lass..now go catch that wisp and have ye some fun!

Gemma Briggs

Briggs Gemma began bagpipes at age 11, served as pipe sergeant in 8th grade and plays competitively with the Tampa Bay Pipe Band. Her other musical talents include the oboe, hand bells and piano. Gemma's bravery in brain waves include Gifted Studies at school, winner of the African-American Heritage Award at Florida History Day for her piece on the Freedom Riders. She also attends the International Baccalaureate Program at Palm Harbor University High School. A scout for 8 years, she earned a silver award for Anti-Bulliyig workshops. Her list of Venture Crew accomplishments include: ice walls, rock towers, white water rafting and night kayaking. With the courage to accomplish, is it a surprise that she won the first Female Highlander Pride Student of the Year? No surprise at all. Well done, Brave Briggs!

Jessica Smith

Smith How did Jessie arrive at the place in her life where she became art? Well, as a child she made iS Jffr [oud noises with pots and pans. She built forts in the woods. She tried to kiss hornets on the lips. She walked off tall slides, head first. She played the flute and drum. She sang at the top of her lungs and scared away a thousand banshees. Then one adult day, Jessie sculpted herself into the "silver drummer girl", a human statue that comes alive to drum you a tune at the drop of some coin into her silver pot. Ye think it's easy? Near motionless for three hours, hecklers, kids naughty and nice, weather, bodily demands, pigeons, famous people...Jessie is so statuesque that Steven Tyler of Aerosmith crawled on his hands and knees to drop a tip in her pot, but smile she did not. The "silver drummer girl" is quite the attraction on the weekends in downtown Asheville. Amongst the "buskers", or street performers, Jessie has won top honors several years. Taunted by some and cheered on by others, her bravery to remain stoic steals their thunder. Following the lead of her Scots-Irish ancestors, Jessie finds solace at home in the woods by the river where she builds furniture and creative floating objects. Find her at our games in a Scottish pose and gaze upon some heartwarming, brave art.

Adriane Wilson

Wilson Adriane recently said, "There are so many amazing people who silently dominate life and I am honored to be in their company." I'm not so sure about the "silent" Adriane because her dominance seems to be heard by many. Raised in Ohio, Adriane attended Ashland University and competed in shot put, discus, hammer and weight throw. By graduation she had achieved the following honors: All American, NCAA Div. II, 13 times; 7 National Championships; 6 Runner ups; National Record in the Discus, NCAA Div. II (she holds indoor and outdoor records). On the Pro level, she was ranked in the top 3 for U.S. Women's shot put and a contender for the 2004 Olympic Team. Then a new challenge developed when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma nine months prior to the Olympic trials. After six months of chemotherapy she still tried to qualify but finished 5th with only the top 3 advancing to Athens, Greece. The good news echoed "CANCER FREE" and Adriane was happy to wait four years to try again. After falling short in 2008, her competitive passion discovered Scottish heavy athletics. Initially, the Highland Games seemed to be a cross training activity but Adriane embraced the camaraderie and competition, realizing it elevated her joy and excitement which had been missing in the serious life of track & field. The last four years, Adriane has accomplished the following in Highland Athletics: Winner of the Women's World Championships three years in a row; Set the World Record, 28 lb. weight for distance, being the first female to surpass 50 feet; Tied World Record, Weight for Height. For the second year, Adriane has served as captain of the East Team at our Central Florida Games and very anxious to wallop the West with her wizardry of weights.

Amy Linville Lockhart

Lockhart With a background in marketing and sales, Amy operated her own consulting business prior to becoming a full-time mom for 8 years. She has served in volunteer leadership roles both at her church and in civic organizations as the YMCA and Lake Mary Women's Club. She is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Seminole County League of Voters and the Regional Chamber of Commerce, to name a few. She supports Pathway To Home, the Central Florida Zoo and Safehouse of Seminole from which she received the 2008 Leadership Award. In 2004, Amy's service to Seminole County earned her a full-time position with the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners, where interest in community service grew. Eight years later, Amy bravely left her comfort zone and in 2012 was elected as a Seminole County School Board member. At home, Amy enjoys cooking, genealogy and her family...and searching for spare time. She is a completely courageous Commissioner.

Trish Jones

Trish As a single mom raising her son, Trish did all the responsible things like holding a mundane office job where 13 years of cubicle coziness was crafting her crazy. Then a vision came rolling along; her grown son delivered a field report. After bravely jumping thru many hoops and sternly motivating the recruiter, Trish joined the U.S. Army a few days before her 42nd birthday making her the oldest new recruit in the nation. Her desire to be a pilot was prevented by age, but her intellect and mechanical skills led her to a new adventure as a helicopter mechanic, lasting 7 years now. Along the dusty trail, Trish began competing in highland athletics where she's all about the fun and interaction with kilted kin. Recently it was "hi-hi-hee", when Trish was tossing a tree and trashed her knee. Her brave spirit kept bouncing back. You can expect no less from this fearless femme de force that once let scorpions crawl on her face to win a Fear Factor competition to benefit a charity. So where e'er you go, you will always know that brave Trish is rolling along.

Dawn Shrewsbury

Dawn From Dawn's point of view as a Goddess of the trolls, one must be a complete tomboy as a kid (get dirty often, climb trees); love animals, learn to ride them (but only horses); work at stables, exercise horses and shovel....stuff; work at UPS loading and unloading trucks (big trucks); graduate from UCF, work in a tech industry until bored out of mind staring at a computer; join a gym, pump weights; help friends move heavy objects (that belong to them); train for strongman competition (yea, yea, strongwoman); attend Central Florida Scottish Highland Games, enter the Boulder Boogie and carry a 178 lb. boulder 46 feet to win the dubious title: Goddess of the Trolls. And that's how...but wait! Subsequently give birth after 39 hours of labor (you should've complained to the labor union) to your wonderful daughter, Reagan Grace and anticipate a better score in the Boulder Boogie. NOW you qualify to be a Brave Lass!

Marette Sims

Sims This lovely lass from Central Florida has made courageous contributions to many, beginning with her adored family: Kevin the mate, Lyndzey the lass, Ethan the lad and Marley the littler lass. They inspire Marette daily with a sense of adventure, new perspectives and unconditional love. Marette has been a Winter Springs Police Officer for 16 years and proudly wears the Law Enforcement tartan. From road patrol to communications, she has done just about everything (look out chief). At our games over the years she has logged many hours guarding the treasury and protecting the kin. Her toughest assignment came in 2004 just 10 weeks after giving birth to Marley. A diagnosis of Ewing's Sarcoma, a bone and soft tissue cancer, threw Marette into 16 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy and midway through; part of her left foot was amputated. Now in remission, but reminded daily with pain and discomfort, Marette embraces life with a brave highland heart. Since, she rock climbed and rappelled in Utah and then in October she and Kevin completed the Marine Corps Marathon (26.2 miles) in Washington D.C. A birthday skydiving challenge was next next on the board. Thanks, Marette, for your courage and vision that inspires future brave lasses and lads, too.

Valerie Cairney

Valerie Cairney Born in London, Val moved with her parents to Toronto, Canada. With a Journalism major at age 1 7, she was employed by the Toronto Telegram for a few years until a Glaswegian stopped the presses, and together they produced a family with three boys. Not ready to retire, Val started organizing Scottish events including Burns Suppers and St. Andrews Balls. The gatherings were often highlighted by entertainers from Scotland and nobility on occasion. The popularity of these events prompted Valerie to develop a newspaper to unite the ex-pats in Canada. In 1976, The Scottish Banner was published and debuted at the Fergus Highland Games in Ontario. The Banner soon emigrated to the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. Val's bravery to succeed has lasted 37 years and she has been honored and thanked far and wide for promoting "Scottishness" around the world. She received the Flora MacDonald Award in North Carolina and will be "Chieftain of the Day" in Australia at two Highland Games. Now a Florida resident with her husband Jeff, we are proud to recognize Valerie for boldness and old-fashioned Scottish determination to keep millions of readers in touch with their heritage. Thank you, Brave Lass!

Jaye Perrett

Jaye Perrett As a 12 year-old girl, Jaye rescued her first bird at the school yard and would not leave until the Ocala police took it to safety. She knew then that her life's mission was to become an armiger for animals. At 18, she became the youngest state certified "Cruelty Officer" in Florida, investigating complaints for the Humane Society. Later, she became a Deputy Sheriff, handling animal abuse cases in Marion County. In 1995, Jaye was recognized by National Geographic for making more arrests and convictions on animal cruelty cases than all U.S. law enforcement combined; Reader's Digest described her as "tenacious as a pit bull." After 32 years, Jaye was forced to retire after a Rottweiler rammed her leg at full speed, shattering it, while she was saving a dog from choking. This knight of nature was not to be unhorsed. In 2000, Jaye co-founded Endangered Animals Rescue Sanctuary (E.A.R.S.), where lions, tigers and bears, plus other wildlife, are provided high quality care as they recover from sometimes horrific histories. After Hurricane Katrina sacked New Orleans, Jaye spent 7 months in a motor home there helping rescue over 300 animals. E.A.R.S., Inc. continues to assist with Marion County animal cruelty cases. Their compound in Citra, Florida is home to numerous grateful tigers, including "Duke", who was near death, refusing to eat, when this really, really brave lass took him home for 6 weeks and nursed him back to health. Duke thanked Jaye by licking her face raw! Jaye Perrett, Queen of Big Cats, is one of the bravest lasses on planet Earth...and the universe hears her roar!

Agnes Ross

Agnes Ross A native New Yorker, having lived in Queens and Long Island, makes Agnes a Brave Lass already! She received her nursing degree at King's County Hospital in Brooklyn, then later worked as a stewardess with American Airlines until marriage and three sons grounded her for a short time. Agnes returned to the workplace as a Nurse Supervisor in Albany, NY. Over the years, she has scuba dived in the Caribbean with her family and visited 36 countries, including Scotland, to fulfill a passion for history and archaeology. Agnes and her late husband, Lawrence, were active member of Scottish societies in Central Florida and founding member of Class Ross, Florida. She also displayed her bravery with her interest and care of raccoons - which explains to masked critter at the Clan Ross tent, where you will find her with her son, Larry, Florida State Commissioner for Clan Ross. With this Brave caregiver amongst us, our realm is a better place!

Margaret "Pearl" McConnell

McConnell Born near Glasgow as Margaret Clark Brown, "Pearl" joined the Royal Air Force at 17, and then at age 22, she married Matthew McConnell. By 1956, they crossed the pond and settled in Delaware where she worked until 1980 at DuPont designing aerosol propellants used in home products and perfumes. Pearl then joined husband Matthew on the road with Highland Heritage, which he started in 1974. They motored America with their piping sons and dancing daughter selling Scottish wares and piping supplies at Highland games and festivals. They were one of the first vendors at our Orlando games in the late 70s. In 1981, Pearl opened the Highland Heritage store in Delaware and later it moved to Wilmington, DE where Pearl became one of the first to offer kilt rentals and an online store. In 2006, Pearl's husband of 54 years passed away and the store closed. Thoughts of retirement hung heavy but this brave lass was not to be restrained. With daughter Linda and grandson Matt on board, the Highland Heritage team grew in strength and continues to bring fine Scottish fashion and supplies to the Americas. Pearl has no intention of slowing down, so stop by their booth and meet another Brave Lass who has drawn her own destiny.

Susan Cummings

Cummings This southern lass from Macon, Georgia, was born with bloodlines from clans McDonald, Hay, McLeod of Lewis, Mclntyre, Lamont, Campbell and Forbes. Adding one more clan, she married Kay Cummings, settled in Fort Valley, Georgia and has been a 47-year resident of Crawford county where she birthed two fine chilen: Suzanne and KC, thence grandson Cullen Cummings. In 1984, Kay and Susan attended their first highland games. The following year, Kay competed for the first time in highland athletics and won a medal as Susan watched from a beach towel. They were hooked on the "heavies" and by 1997 were doing 13 games, 3 clinics and a demonstration. Susan became an organizing, score-keeping force. With Kay as athletic director they helped establish the Culloden, Georgia Highland Games. Thereafter their schedule grew to 18 games a year. A clinic was held at their home where athletes spent the night, built a bonfire and bonded over a common ancestry. Kay became the mighty mentor of many budding highland athletes, while Susan did all the rest. She gathered materials, stitched sheafs, packed trailers, worked as grease monkey and has been ruling the realm on the athletic field because of her love of the people and the pursuit. It takes great courage to persist and help perpetuate such a unique part of our Scottish heritage, wherein mighty men and women toss trees, hurl hammers and gloat about their greatness. We, the Central Florida Scottish Highland Games, are very proud and appreciative of the enormous role Susan has played with us over the years. Her bravery will be felt for generations to come.

Paula Nunnery

Nunnery 2013 marks our 12th gathering in Winter Springs at our lovely glen of green graced by eagles, hawks and 'gators. For a few days each year, thousands come to trample the terrain and penetrate the peacefulness. Tent preparers often poke holes in pipes. Recovery requires a rep dedicated to resolve the rampage and restore the park to its raptor-roaming regality. This brave lass, Paula, a Florida native and parks person for 19 years, is one of the dedicated few who handle our sacking of the sanctuary. Paula has performed tedious treatments over time that put a smile on Mother Nature. We are very thankful for her dedication to our land. It takes courage to endure our escapades and she is by far a silent star in our society. Like her mother who also worked in parks, Paula's destiny, like ours, is tied to the land.