We are excited to announce our first-ever Emerging Voices Award recipient, Kennedy Riles! Kennedy has performed with Divenire Winter Guard since 2017 and currently serves as a captain for her group and is a senior at the University of Alabama. Prior to Divenire, Kennedy marched at Sparkman High School (Harvest, AL).
“Over the past five years, it has been a joy to watch Kennedy grow and develop at Divenire Winter Guard,” says Divenire Winter Guard Director Patrick Nolen. “She is an asset to our organization, and has worked tirelessly as both a member and captain to ensure not only the group’s success in all endeavors, but also her own.”
Nolen continues, “She has consistently been someone that we can rely on, is incredibly dedicated, and has loved and supported the program through the years. Beyond that, Kennedy is an impressive leader that continues to push the organization.”
With the funds granted from the Emerging Voices Award, Kennedy plans to develop a minority mentorship program in her home circuit (Southeastern Color Guard Circuit).
“A mentorship program is great, because it shows minority members that their goals are achievable,” says Riles. “It shows that someone who looks like you has been where you want to go. I want to be a voice for change, and I think that this is one of the best ways to do that.”
“Kennedy has a wonderful disposition and a huge capacity for understanding and compassion. She pours all of herself into all that she does,” says Divenire Winter Guard Choreographer/Technician Matthew Atkinson. “These qualities combined with her thirst for knowledge, passion for diversity and inclusion, and skills as a leader make her an integral part of the Divenire family and undoubtedly make her a prime candidate to represent WGI as an Emerging Voice.”
As part of the Emerging Voices Award, Kennedy will be the first member inducted into the I AM WGI: Future Leaders Program, a comprehensive mentorship and leadership opportunity for highly qualified young people from the performer ranks of WGI.
From all of us at WGI—Congratulations, Kennedy! We look forward to working with you to shape the future of the indoor marching arts!
The I AM WGI: Emerging Voices Award is a community-funded monetary award that provides an opportunity for outstanding minority performers with significant financial need to reach their highest potential. The Award is geared to those individuals who show promise to be a beacon for positive change in their communities and WGI.
Funding for this Award comes directly from leaders, families, educators, supporters and fans of WGI who all share a vested interest in supporting highly qualified individuals from historically underrepresented populations.
Learn more about the Emerging Voices Award at wgi.org/emergingvoices.