MADISON – Joshua Wortham can be described as a young ‘Renaissance Man’ with his successes in the fine arts, entrepreneurship, academics and diplomacy. Alabama Public Television or APTV took note of Wortham’s unique story and named him to “APT Young Heroes.”
Each student will receive a $5,000 scholarship, a laptop computer and other prizes.
Nominees must be full-time students in grades 9-12 curriculum in Alabama. The Young Heroes Board searches for students who have demonstrated academic excellence, active civic participation and, most importantly, courage to persevere in the face of adversity.
Wortham, a senior at James Clemens High School, reached a 4.04 GPA. He represented the United States at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and for the International Youth Leadership Peace Summit. His work has been published in an International Educational Peace Journal.
A four-year member of Jets Marching and Concert Bands, Wortham received the “Freshman Musicianship Award” and “Junior Service Award” and lettered as a freshman. Wortham earned numerous music awards including All-State Band, All-State Orchestra, Honor Band at multiple universities and Superior ratings at Solo and Ensemble Competition.
Other musical commitments include pianist for James Clemens Mixed Choir and fill-in pianist and trumpeter for churches and organizations. He served as counselor for Jet Bands’ summer music camp and as youth intern for Madison City Youth Orchestra.
Wortham also served in Student Government Association and was inducted into National Honor Society.
In entrepreneurial ventures, 10-year-old Wortham started a bakery, Peaceful Pastries and Sweets, to pay his way to Peacebuilder’s Camp. His bakery expanded into a full-service, licensed LLC to serve North Alabama cities. Wortham’s work led to “Youth Entrepreneur of the Year” for Alabama.
Wortham donates cookies to non-profit organizations and for his campaign for mental health advocacy, “Coexist with Cookies.”
For many years, Wortham and his two brothers were home-schooled because of family medical catastrophes. One brother was diagnosed with HSP Renal and was hospitalized or undergoing chemotherapy for several months. His other brother was born with Global Cerebral Atrophy and other special needs.
His parents endured major surgeries and mental health issues. The Worthams now are fierce advocates for mental health awareness and erasing stigmas for suicide.
Wortham returned to public school as a freshman but suffered a medical emergency during algebra class. Within hours, he was in the emergency room and diagnosed with a brain tumor. Surgeons at Vanderbilt Medical Center removed a colloid cyst in his left ventricle during brain surgery; while recovering, he was absent much of his freshman year.
Wortham’s parents are William and Rebecca Wortham.
Wortham’s many challenges, tempered with achievements, have shaped him into a resilient, humble and determined individual. For those qualities, Alabama Public Television recognized Wortham in “APT Young Heroes” for 2023.
For more information, visit aptv.org/education/young-heroes.