UPDATED: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 10:40 a.m. - The previously reported annual cost was incorrect. It has been updated with the correct amount.
Junior U.S. luge team athlete Raychel Germaine from Roswell will garner a hometown hero's honor when she acts as grand marshal of the city’s 62nd Annual Frances McGahee Youth Day Celebration this Saturday, Oct. 13.
Germaine - who placed 14th in the women’s singles luge competition at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria - was an obvious choice for grand marshal of this year’s celebration, which follows the theme "Roswell’s Gold Medal."
"This is a great honor," said Germaine at the Monday, Oct. 8 Roswell City Council meeting. "I'm truly humbled by this opportunity."
Germaine told the Roswell City Council and the Youth Day Parade representatives that the dream of becoming a U.S. Olympic athlete in the sport of luge began four years ago after she watched her dad, a former luge athlete, on the track.
And . But training comes at a high cost, both monetarily, physically and socially. Participating in the sport will cost as much as $17,000 this year, a financial burden taken on by the Germaines, friends and donors. Hardcore training means she gives up life as a normal high school student and practice runs can be painful when you "make a mistake at 70 miles per hour," she said.
But she continues to pursue her dream because it doesn't end with just going to the Olympics, she wants to win a gold medal.
She quotes a Tim Tebow favorite, "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard," by Tim Notke and Philipians 4:13 from the Bible as her inspiration.
Germaine encouraged mentors to learn about the dreams of local youth and help them anyway possible, because "the future is dependant upon youth."
A 10 a.m. parade will kick off the annual Youth Day event. It will leave First Baptist Church on Mimosa Boulevard and end at Roswell Area Park on Woodstock Road, where Youth Day will continue with an all-day outdoor festival on the football field, including a variety of activities such as: inflatable slides, moonwalk, pony rides, climbing wall, entertainment and more.
Children ages 15 and under will also have the chance to win a free lunch, while supplies last.
Immediately before the start of the parade at 9:45 a.m., the Roswell Runners Club will host the 16th Annual Historic Roswell 5K Road Race. The race starts at the Roswell United Methodist Church and ends at the Roswell Area Park football field. To register, go online.
The Frances McGahee Youth Day Celebration, which began in 1950, is a cooperative effort coordinated by the in partnership with local churches, volunteer organizations and community members.
Any group or organization interested in participating in Youth Day should call 770-641-3705 or download an application online.