Kasondra Farmer is no stranger to the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee program, as she was the Junior Miss titleholder in 2000! She is 24 years old and uses a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy. The first in her family to attend college, she is a junior at Austin Peay State University, majoring in Psychology. In 2002, Austin Peay deemed her to be Freshman of the Year and the following year, she was named among the Top 40 Under 40 by The Tennessean. Following graduation, Kasondra intends to go to New York City, where she will pursue further education and a career in fashion merchandising. She believes that, “bravery is not the absence of fear, but overcoming our fears to accomplish a goal”.
When children her age ask her about her disability, she replies, “I have something wrong with my legs and I can’t walk. I have spina bifida but I can still play with you!”
Whitney Qualls, born with spina bifida, is 19 and lives in Dickson, TN. She views being home schooled through most of middle and high school as an enriching experience, in that it allowed her to develop an understanding of a wide variety of subjects, travel and participate in public service activities. Her church is important to her and she participates in the annual Girls Leadership and Enrichment program. Whitney excels in public speaking, a skill which was fostered by participating in the Dale Carnegie Leadership Course. Being a role model comes naturally to her and she volunteers with ABLE Youth Program as a captain for their wheelchair cheerleading squad. Whitney approaches life with a positive attitude and views adversity as, “an opportunity to grow.”