First in Print: Barbier represents Donaldsonville, Ascension Catholic at Liberty Bowl

Allison B. Hudson

Ashley Barbier is no stranger to the news. She was crowned 2010 Ascension Catholic Homecoming Queen, a vital force in the Cinderella Project, and now a participant at the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. This 18-year-old has some accomplishments under her belt.

After she was crowned Homecoming Queen, Barbier entered the Americas Homecoming Queen Scholarship Program and was offered this opportunity and joined 107 Homecoming Queens from across America for this event. She was told she would be participating in the Liberty Bowl pre-game and halftime events.

“The Trip to Memphis was an experience of a lifetime,” says Barbier.  “Beginning with the tour of the Saint Jude Children's Hospital - it was awesome.”

I was able to find out how research has helped the cure rate of leukemia from four percent in 1962 to now over 80 percent for leukemia and other cancers.

“We learned so much about what the St. Jude Hospital is all about and how it not only helps to cure sick children but does so much research and training for doctors to practice not just in America, but in other parts of the world,” she added.

Seventy percent of the donations to the St. Jude Children's Hospital come from the individual - with the average amount of only $30.06.

“I would like to encourage everyone to donate not only to the local children's hospital in Baton Rouge, but also to the St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, because that is were it all began and continues research and training,” Ashley said. It takes 1.6 million dollars per day to run the St. Jude children's hospital and they take care of the sick child and also provide housing and meals for family members while the child is being treated.  It is so nice to know that there is a place that can help families when things seem hopeless. All of these reasons are why Danny Thomas started the St. Jude's Hospital in 1964 because he was in a hopeless situation and wanted to give others hope and lived up to his promise -thanks to the many donations from so many people and companies over the years.

After our lesson on the St. Jude Hospital, myself and other Homecoming Queens from across America were in a parade that took place on the famous “Beale Street” in Memphis.

“That was an awesome experience, we had lots of fun and the people were great.”

Later, it was time for the bowl game. Ashley said that they were escorted on the field in their white evening gowns by Air National Guardsman and witnessed the swearing in of several new men and woman who will serve our country in the Military.

Then at the half-time show they walked on the football field in a "white wave" of evening gowns as they surrounded the famous "O’Jays'" at center stage.

“We had so much fun singing and dancing as they performed their hit songs

"Money" and "Love Train.”

The entire field was filled with dancers, marching bands and other performers.

“It was amazing.”

Although much excitement surrounded us, they did not air the halftime events on ESPN, but relatives and friends posted the event on You Tube and other social networks.

“I made new friends, but I also reunited with three girls I met at Girls State this past summer.  It was also fun having my cousins Alex and Alayna Matassa, and my Aunt Lisa Matassa come on the trip with me and my mom.”

“I am looking forward to competing on the State Level for the Scholarship for "Louisiana's" Homecoming Queen this spring.