2016 Distinguished Young Alumna Award



Carrie Wortham ’08

Winner of the first Distinguished Young Alumna Award
 
Easily recognized for her vibrant red hair and big, infectious smile, Carrie Wortham ’08’s deeper attributes were what made her truly special. With wit, drive and compassion rooted in a deep faith, she was gifted with skills to encourage others and challenge them to excel. She was persistent, disciplined, and never afraid of hard work, particularly when that work involved service to others. 
 
Though Carrie was a skilled athlete and exceptional student with numerous academic and athletic accomplishments, she was humble to her core. At St. Catherine’s, Carrie was the founder and president of the Math Club and a member of Peer Advisors and Battle of the Brains, while participating in AP and honors courses. In addition, she was an integral part of the track and field team, and served as team captain her junior and senior years, carrying numerous distinctions including Team MVP in indoor track. Not surprisingly, Carrie’s classmates and faculty members named her as the class of 2008’s St. Catherine’s representative.
 
Following her graduation Carrie continued her strong academic and athletic career at VMI, earning a B.S. in Biology in 2012. She was named the 2011-12 Big South Woman of the Year, an honor only given to those who exceed both academic and athletic expectations. More importantly, mirroring the intentional life she led at St. C, she was deeply involved in the VMI and local communities.  She started VMI’s first international service program, Engineers Without Borders, and served as its president during her 2nd Class year, partnering with Washington and Lee University students to support a mission of improving the lives of those in developing countries through the education of better health and proper sanitation. 
 
Upon graduation from VMI, Carrie dedicated the next two years to Midwives For Haiti, a Richmond-based nonprofit group that teaches Haitian women how to be midwives. After her work with that organization, Carrie began working as a Project Coordinator at Impact Makers, a Richmond technology consulting company, which strives to improve social value for the local community through an innovative business model, and donates its profits to charity. 
 
Carrie's extraordinary life was cut short at the age of 26 when she was struck while bicycling in September 2015 as she trained for the upcoming Anthem Richmond Marathon. Upper School Chaplain Dorothy White, in her message about Carrie’s untimely death to the St. Catherine’s community, stated, “As I pondered my encounters with her – the same word continued to emerge within my heart – KIND. Carrie Wortham was genuinely kind to everyone with whom she came in contact.” 
 
Even in death Carrie continues to serve others. In December, the Richmond Area Bicycling Association honored her by donating bikes in her name to children in need. The group raised the money, assembled 500 bikes, and delivered them. We were honored to have Carrie’s mother Tammy and husband Harry Gill, and Carrie’s father Ed and wife Cynthia, accept the School’s first Distinguished Young Alumna Award on behalf of their remarkable daughter Carrie Dawn Wortham.  
In honor of St. Catherine's 125th Anniversary, the Distinguished Young Alumna Award was established by the Alumnae Association to recognize an alumna who is celebrating a 20th reunion or younger. The award is given to an alumna who has demonstrated distinction through her volunteer work or through her leadership, achievements and accomplishments in her career or community.
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Experts in the way girls learn best, St. Catherine’s offers a rigorous liberal arts education, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish (JK- grade 12), JK- grade 12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and 23 AP classes and 33 honors classes. Call us today for a tour 804-288-2804.