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10s of Oxford Shine in Writing, Service and Health


Julie Cantrell
Julie Cantrell

Julie Cantrell is an Oxford native author who opened her heart today as part of National Suicide Awareness Week, thus making her a 10 of Oxford.
Cantrell is the New York Times and USA TODAY best-selling author of Into the Free and When Mountains Move. She has received two Christy Awards: Debut Novel af the Year and Book of the Year. Mississippi Library Association Fiction Award was also credited to this book in 2013. It was also chosen as one of the five finalists for the 2014 University of Mississippi community reads selections. It is now an international bestseller, “thanks to our Dutch readers,” Cantrell said. The latter book is the sequel and has been listed as a Lifeway Best Read of 2013. It was also shortlisted as 2014 Christian Retailing’s Best. It was also a finalist for Carol Award in the Historical Fiction category.
“I’ve had to pinch myself more than a few times,” Cantrell wrote on her personal blog of her achievements.
Margaret King (left) and Katherine King (right)
Margaret King (left) and Katherine King (right)

Katherine and Margaret King are long-time Oxonians with three books chronicling their childhoods in Oxford in 1950s. Yet it was their achievements and their community service, not just their mischief, that made them 10s of Oxford.
The King twins recorded their infamous escapades in 1950s Oxford in the first two books: Y’all Twins? (2012), Which is Which? (2013) and Our Josephine (2014). Their adventures have been well-known ever since they climbed on back of William Faulkner’s wooden buggy as little girls. Their antics continue even now as the King twins have their own YouTube channel: yallkingtwins, complete with 19 videos with most of them featuring the twins as rappers.
They both have long list of accomplishments each. Katherine King graduated from University of Mississippi in 1970 with a bachelor of arts in secondary education with emphasis on mathematics. In 1971 she received a masters of education from the University of Mississippi with emphasis on guidance and counseling, and returned to University of Mississippi to earn another masters of science in mathematics in 1987. She was twice named Star Teacher during her teaching career. In 2005 she received the Headway Educator of the Year award in recognition as an notable educator at Northwest Community College. IN 2008 she was named the Lamplighter Educator of the Year by the Northwest Community College. She is currently an instructor of mathematics at the Oxford campus of Northwest Community College.
Margaret King graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1971 with a bachelor of arts in secondary education with an emphasis in history. After a teaching career she started working with the federal government as a courtroom clerk with United States district judge Orma R. Smith in the northern district of Mississippi. After nine years she went to Farmers Home Administration/Rural Development. While working there she twice received the highest award given to a government employee—The Distinguished Service Award. She also received the Department of Army Commander’s Award for Public Service, the highest civilian award given by the military.
The King twins belong to the Oxford Exchange Club, where Margaret has served as President and as Secretary for eleven years. Margaret is also a board member of the Exchange Club Family Center and serves on the Interfaith Compassion Ministry board. She is also a board member of the Oxford Boys and Girls Club. Both authors contribute to Backpacks for the Homeless, a program that Margaret founded in the Oxford area. Katherine created Santa Cause in 2010, at the Oxford campus of NWCC where needy students receive Christmas gifts for their children.
Sunny Young
Sunny Young

Sara “Sunny” Young is the program project coordinator of Good Food for Oxford Schools and the director of EduFood Consulting, LLC, an organization for consulting schools, universities and community organizations in North Mississippi on eating healthy foods. She even shared her expertise on Ted Talk last March.
Young’s passion for access to clean, healthy food came from her working on a fair trade vanilla plantation in Madagascar. Since then Young turned her interest in food policy into a career. A graduate of Hendrix College in 2009, she moved to Boulder, CO and interned for Renegade Lunch Lady, Chef Ann Cooper, to help the children have access to organic foods. Then she began working with the Boulder Valley school district’s Food Project as well as with Chef Ann’s Food Family Farming Foundation and the Lunch Box which provides free tools to anyone who needs help changing school lunch menus. After three years she moved to Mississippi and began the Good Food for Oxford School project in January of 2013.
Since January of 2013, Sunny has gradually changed the schools’ breakfast and lunch menus to feature farm-fresh food from surrounding farms. She grew the menus from 30 percent cooked-from-scratch meals to 75 percent with fresh fruit available every day. Young’s goals include having a student-led garden and a salad bar for every school in Oxford as well as cooking classes for students and parents.
Do you know someone who is a 10 of Oxford? Send your nominations to Callie Daniels, staff reporter, at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com!

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