Distinguished Through the Decades: 1989, Laura (Burrow) Sheehan
Progress 2022: Distinguished Through the Decades
“I wanted to experience the program that represented our county. I had lived all my life in Franklin County, so to me it was a neat experience, if you did win, to represent the place you called home.”
Belgreen’s Laura (Burrow) Sheehan got her chance to represent her county as the Franklin County Junior Miss of 1989. Now a mother of four, Sheehan looks back fondly on her time as Junior Miss.
“It was a great experience. It really promoted a student being their best self,” Sheehan said, calling it a wholesome program. “I liked the fact that it put so much emphasis on academics and the interview process.”
Prior to her own turn in the spotlight, Sheehan had taken part as a “Little Sister” in the program the year before and also has memories of watching the event from the audience. She has returned as an audience member several times in the years since, and she even served as a judge one year. “I think it’s a really worthwhile program. I would definitely encourage any girl to be in it. I think it lends itself to a genuine person who tries to do their best in everything.”
It’s that mentality, ingrained in her as Junior Miss, that Sheehan has carried with her throughout her life. “Anything I was involved in, I have always tried to give my 110 percent,” said said. “Going through difficult times in life, you always carry that mentality with you: Be your best self.” It also became a lesson she passes on to her own children, encouraging them to do and be their best, which dovetails right in with her beliefs as a Christian.
At Belgreen, Sheehan was in numerous clubs and cheered. She was also involved in modeling. She put dedicated focus on her grades, finishing high school as the salutatorian of her class.
Following high school Sheehan went to the University of North Alabama, where she majored in language arts and secondary education for her bachelor’s degree, graduating in 1993. She continued into a graduate program, earning her master’s degree in English education in 1995.
She now lives in Killen. She has taught English at Deshler High School and at Calhoun Community College, and she also previously worked stints at The Daily Leader newspaper in Brookhaven, Miss., and as an admissions counselor for Virginia College in Huntsville.
These days Sheehan is a stay-at-home mom for daughter Brighton, 5, but said she has plans to reenter the workforce in some capacity when Brighton starts school in the fall. Daughter Hannah, 16, is a 10th-grader at Brooks High School; daughter Madison, 18, is a student at Northwest-Shoals Community College; and son Blake, 20, is a student at the University of North Alabama. “They all keep me busy with all their activities,” Sheehan said.
A preacher’s wife, Sheehan married husband Paul in 2012. The two had first met years ago when he was preaching a gospel meeting at the church where she grew up, Belgreen church of Christ. A Canada native, Paul came to the U.S. to play football for Western Kentucky and went on to preach meetings across the nation; Sheehan was baptized during one of his meetings. The two reconnected later in life, after both had faced similar tragedies, and soon married to become a blended family: He had three older children, and she had Blake, Madison and Hannah. Together the new couple faced two miscarriages and welcomed Brighton to the world.
They attend Brookhill church of Christ, where Paul is the preacher.