Meet The Team
"Let's root for each other and watch each other grow!"

Joya Wortham

Creator and Director of The Keeper Program

My name is Joya Wortham and I am a 5th grade teacher at Wingate Elementary School and also the Director of The Keeper Program for over 5 years. I created the program to help students in our community realize how valuable they are and how successful they can become. There are a lot of students that get into bad situations because they are overlooked and undervalued. I refuse to let this continue! I believe in spreading the love and confidence to all students. I am hoping that this program not only transforms students, but also leave a lasting impression that will help keep them on the right track beyond elementary school. 

Whitney Ross


Hi, my name is Whitney Ross. I am a third grade teacher at Wingate Elementary. I have lived in Wingate my entire life, so I am dedicated to helping the students and families of the community that I grew up in. I love being a part of "The Keepers" program, because I can work with students and help them to build social skills, confidence in themselves, and skills to help them with life skills for the future. I also love working with the students in this program, because I am able to help students with needs that we are unable to work on during a curriculum packed school day. This program does not only help the students, but I am able to benefit from this program as well and apply the lessons to my own life to improve myself. 

Braxton Fonville

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My name is Braxton Fonville and I'm originally from Decatur IL. This is my first year with the program. This program was a big reason for me to coming to Wingate. I'm the Behavioral Modification Tech at Wingate, so my goal is to build relationships with the kids. When they have issues within class we can work to correct that behavior. My goal within the program is help kids that look like or remind myself of me so that they can be well versed in the various situations that will come up in life. If I had one thing that I would like keepers to know it would be, life is gonna beat you down, so the real test of a person is when they are faced with adversity how do you respond? Will you stay on the ground or will you pull yourself off the deck and get back in the                                                                        fight? So here's to fighting the good fight. 

Travis McGriff

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My name is Travis McGriff and I am a recent graduate of Wingate University with a major in Elementary Education. I've worked in the Union County school system for 3 years and this is my second year being a part of The Keeper Program where I hope to inspire and change the lives of our youth and young men for generations to come.  

Shelby Tricoli

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I grew up in a small town west of Asheville, North Carolina called Waynesville. I attended Wingate University from August 2013 to May 2017. Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Finance, I was also a part of the Wingate Women's Basketball team during my four years. I am now in the Master of Business Administration program at Wingate and enjoy helping The Keeper Program in my spare time. Most of my time is spent with the girls assisting and leading activities. I absolutely LOVE working with these kids. They demonstrate so much responsibility and respect for one another and it is such a joy getting to be a part of a program meant to encourage friendships, build confidence, and create strong leaders.

De'smond Huntley 

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My name is De'smond Huntley and I am a freshman at Forest Hills High School. I love helping others and making sure that no one feels left out. My Sister's Keeper means so much to me because I love helping and sharing my experiences. I also like letting the members of this program know that they have someone who supports them through it all. I am very dedicated to this program and making sure that these young ladies stay on the right track. I am so excited to see what the future brings!