Youth Award `a Blessing' Theater Student among `Achievers'

Article excerpt

Lee Beager has a lot of favorites at Douglas Anderson School

of the Arts.

But Beager, head of the school's theater department, says

"there's something special about Cassie."

This week, she asked 12th-grader Cassandra "Cassie" Freeman to

talk to another student, a ninth-grader having problems in class.

"I walked past the cafeteria today and she was already having

lunch with him," Beager said. "After she works with him, I know

he'll turn around and by the time he's in the 12th grade he'll

be the leader that Cassie is. I asked her to talk to him because

I have that much faith in her."

Beager isn't the only one impressed with Freeman.

The selection committee of this year's African-American

Achievers Award gave her the 1998 Youth Achiever Award and a

four-year scholarship to Florida State University. Hers is one

of eight achievement awards given to Jacksonville area residents

by J.M. Family Enterprises Inc., the Deerfield Beach parent

company of Southeast Toyota.

Freeman, a theater student at Douglas Anderson, said getting

the award "was a blessing."

"I believe I got it because I'm well-rounded and because of my

involvement in the community," she said. "I admit that I'm not

the brightest or smartest student at Douglas Anderson. I work

hard to get the grades I get. I could name several other

students who probably deserve this award."

Freeman and others will be honored at the fourth annual

African-American Awards program at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at the

Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

The purpose of the award is to honor people, such as Freeman,

who have given their time and been committed to helping others.

Freeman, who lives on the Northside, has been involved in

numerous pageants, leadership groups and volunteer efforts

throughout the city. …