Reporter Dustin Shipman did exactly what needed to be done, interviewing some of those who knew Asia'h best during her days in the Joplin school system, including my colleague at South Middle School, choir instructor Julie Yonkers, and my principal Ron Mitchell:
The article also includes an interview with a former co-worker of Miss Epperson's at Curves.
Epperson’s talent as a performer was evident at an early age, said Julie Yonkers, choir director at South Middle School in Joplin.
“She was a very talented child, very outgoing and personable,” Yonkers said. “When it came to performing, she would just light up the stage.
“She was phenomenal when she was in middle school, and I knew that with the right direction she would go far. She was heavily involved in choir and was a member of our honors choir for Southwest Missouri. She was one of those kids that you just knew would do well in performing. When I heard she was auditioning, I just knew she would make it to the top 24. A lot of my choir kids watch ‘American Idol,’ and of course I watch it mainly for something to connect with the kids.”
Ron Mitchell, principal of South Middle School, said he remembers Epperson as well. He said her being a contestant on “American Idol” has caused a buzz in the school, and has a lot of the students and teachers tuning in.
“It is a big buzz with the teachers more than the students because they know her personally, so it is very exciting,” he said.
And though the last Turner Report post noted that the Springfield News-Leader had a story in first, it should be noted that the News-Leader story did not include any interviews and merely stated that two southwest Missouri competitors made the finals.