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Bright Future: Hannah’s heart lives on in Sharp

FERRIDAY — Haley Sharp said staying true to her heart, doing her best and teaching others about her faith and values have changed her life and set her on a path into the future.

The Clayton teen was the salutatorian of Delta Charter School in May and is recipient of the Hannah’s Heart Foundation Scholarship.

The Hannah’s Heart Foundation Scholarship was created in honor of Hannah Beth Nugent, who died from a severe strain of influenza at the age of 7 on Dec. 13, 2017.

“Hannah Beth was my little sister (Lainey’s) best friend,” Sharp said. “Personally I couldn’t have imagined (her dying). She was part of a good Christian family and her parents used that experience to help others.”

When she applied for the scholarship, Sharp said she was asked seven questions regarding her faith.

“The questions were all based on your walk with God,” she said. “They were, ‘What does it mean to be a Christian?’ and ‘What is your walk with God like’ … (Nugent’s parents) wanted to support those who have good Christian values.”

Sharp said all she had to do was write down what she truly believed and stood for. Sharp led both her church and school ministries. She led the First Priority Club, a spiritual ministry at Delta Charter School, and she is the worship leader at Sunnyside Church in Clayton. She also is a Louisiana Youth Foundation staff member, where she counsels younger children and participates in outreach activities both inside and outside of church.

Sharp said Nugent showed the same display of faith in her life as well by telling everyone she met about Jesus, even at 7 years of age.

Sharp said she prayerfully asked God what to do when she graduated from high school, and He changed her mind about becoming a math teacher.

“At first I wanted to teach, but then I changed my mind after praying about it,” Sharp said. “I’ve always loved math. Teaching it helps me learn it. …

“My friend (Shelby McManus) tore her ACL playing softball. … I’ve always been a very active person, and I wanted to learn how you can get better (after getting hurt) without going to the doctor and asking ‘What medicine can I take?’ … I wanted to see how the body can heal naturally.”

Therefore, Sharp said she plans to attend Louisiana Tech University this fall, where she will study kinesiology before going to school for physical therapy. She said, for her, physical therapy is also a ministry opportunity that she hopes to use to reach out to others, just like Nugent did.

“(McManus) is so much better than she was by going through physical therapy,” she said. “Three weeks ago, I got hit with a ball and it fractured my skull and now I’m going through physical therapy. … I want to treat it like a ministry and show people that God wants them to treat their body like a temple. He can heal them and make them better than what they were before.”

Sharp was an active member of the Delta Charter softball, soccer and basketball teams, the president of the student council and her class vice president. She also was a member of the National Beta Club. She received the Hannah’s Heart Foundation Scholarship, the National Wild Turkey Federation Scholarship and an Entergy scholarship.

Sharp said she is very much an outdoors person and enjoys working out, running, fishing, hunting and playing guitar.

She also has volunteered at nursing homes and planted trees at the Bayou Cocodrie Wildlife Refuge.

She said her parents, Kelly and Barry Sharp, helped instill the values that she holds most dear.

“My mom (Kelly) has pushed me throughout my whole life to do the best I can and be the best I can be. She told me, ‘Be your best and do your best for God.’ … It has always been kind of hard being a Christian in high school. … She was always there for me and giving me advice. I can always trust that she’s not going to tell me just what I want to hear but what is good for me.”

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