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Olympic champion Kate Ziegler coming to Greeneville

Submitted by Tammy Kinser • Sep 22, 2019 at 10:30 AM


The second annual “High Tops to High Heels” Luncheon, billed as a celebration of women in sports and tourism, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oct. 29, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Greeneville.

Former Olympic champion Kate Ziegler will be the guest speaker for the 2019 event, and plans are already coming together to make this year’s luncheon an even greater success than last year’s inaugural event, according to Tourism Director Tammy Kinser of the Greene County Partnership.

Title sponsored by Consumer Credit Union and a project of the Greene County Partnership’s Sports Council, the debut event was a rousing success — drawing a packed house of 410 to honor women who have excelled both in sports and a career.

“We feel we have really hit the mark with Kate Ziegler as our speaker,” Kinser said. “I know those in attendance will enjoy meeting her and listening to her stories of attaining the dream of becoming a United States Olympian.”

Ziegler is a two-time Olympian and a nine-time national champion, as well as a four-time world champion in the sport of swimming. She won 15 medals in international competition (including eight gold medals) and broke numerous world records throughout her career.

She moved to Knoxville four years ago to finish her swimming career and, upon retirement, received her MBA from the University of Tennessee. She is the co-owner of two companies and parlays her Olympic experience as a speaker, facilitator and performance coach.

Also making an appearance at this year’s luncheon is 2019 Miss Tennessee Brianna Mason. Mason will also be signing autographs at the event and is sponsored by South State Contractors, Rocky Top Vet and Q Care.

“In 2018, 175 of the 410 that were in attendance were students from all five local high schools as well as Tusculum University,” Kinser said. “This year, we hope to fill the venue with students from all schools and one school, in particular, has written a grant in order to send 29 students and three staff members to the event.”

“The Highland Elementary Intermediate team wrote a GCS Education Focus grant to support fourth and fifth grade girls being able to participate in the ‘High Tops to High Heels Luncheon,’” according to Sheila Newland, principal of Highland Elementary. “The ‘High Tops to High Heel’ aligns with our Leader in Me program at Highland. Highland will be organizing a similar event for their intermediate grade boys. Connecting to the community and others who are positive role models helps our students realize their greatness and what opportunities await them through their goal-setting, perseverance and hard work. Highland’s team is grateful that they are able to capitalize on this local experience for our students in partnership with the support of the GCS Education Foundation. We feel it’s important for your students to have access to successful role models.”

Kinser encourages all principals, teachers and leaders to attend with their students and employees to hear Ziegler’s message.

“Our hope is to truly encourage, enlighten and empower women of all ages and in all fields and it begins at an early age,” she said.

Other sponsors include: Bristol Motor Speedway, Davy Crockett Travel Center, Farm Bureau (Mosheim Carla Reaves Agency Mgr.), First Tennessee Bank, Grand Rental Station, Greeneville Federal Bank, Greeneville Light & Power, Greeneville Water Commission, Hampton Inn of Greeneville, Hometown Realty, McInturff, Milligan & Brooks, Professional Vending, Tusculum University Athletics and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tickets are $15 each, and on sale now at the Greene County Partnership/Chamber of Commerce, located at 115 Academy Street. The student price is $10 per person. Lane sponsorships ($250) and table sponsorships ($100) are also available. Those interested should contact Kinser at (423) 638-4111 or email tkinser@greenecop.com.