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County girl touring with Christian drama team

July 26, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- There's drama in Hannah Dickerson's life.

She's part of a Christian drama team touring the East Coast with an anti-abortion message, which it shares through a play called "The Sanctity of Life."

The Academy of Arts in Taylors, S.C., runs the six-week tour, which is scheduled to end Aug. 10 after 40 shows. It recently stopped in Hagerstown and Martinsburg, W.Va.

In "The Sanctity of Life," Hannah, 17, plays a nurse in an abortion clinic.

She said the play follows a college student who gets pregnant. Her boyfriend gives her money to get an abortion.

As she visits two abortion clinics, she connects with a couple who helps her see things more clearly.

Hannah, who lives north of Hagerstown, is interested in ministry. She leads a Bible study group for middle-school girls at her home.

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Ken Gillaspy, the discipleship minister at Hannah's church, Ringgold Church of Christ, said she has worked with the teen choir and a worship team.

He said she's been involved for years with The Academy of Arts and with Tri-State Christian Service Camp in Virginia.

"She's very determined, very focused, very organized," Gillaspy said.

Hannah has set three goals.

She wants to work with special-needs children, who, she said, offer inspiration and insight.

She wants to go to Bible school to study psychology and ministry. Although she loves her family and Hagerstown, she's looking at schools in Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri. Away from home, she said, is "where the growing happens."

Third, but what Hannah ranked as most important, is cosmetology. She attended a cosmetology camp at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Hannah said she would like the personal interaction with customers.

Could she achieve all three goals? Perhaps: minister on Sunday, work with children on Friday and Saturday, and have a cosmetology job Monday through Thursday?

Hannah, who is home schooled, thinks she can figure it all out and fit it all in.

As someone with diabetes, who monitors her own health, she said, she's used to being organized.

For about a month in the spring, just after the Maryland General Assembly session ended, Hannah interned at state Del. Christopher B. Shank's Boonsboro office and helped keep it in order.

Liz Jones, Shank's legislative aide, said that was a busy time, when a lot of paperwork and filing needed to be done.

Jones assigned Hannah what seemed like six weeks of work, but Hannah, eager and prompt, finished it within three weeks.

"She was just a whirlwind," Jones said.

If Hannah adds a fourth goal, it might be politics.

She calls herself a conservative, rather than a Republican.

Hannah -- a big Sarah Palin fan -- has volunteered often at the Washington County Republican headquarters. Her aunt, Heidi Mengers, and grandmother, Corrine Mackley, have been involved in local politics.

Hannah said she likes to debate, so she was thrilled to knock on doors in Virginia last year on behalf of Sen. John McCain, a Republican, even -- or especially -- when Democrats answered.

In her younger years, Hannah aspired to be the country's first female president.

She's changed her mind.

"Too much stress," she said.

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