Meet Savvy's Amazing Tweens (and Inbetween)!

Photography by Lily Darragh, Shot On Location at Big Rock Fun Park

Savvys Amazing Tweens

What's a tween? Noun. tween (plural tweens) an amazing child on the brink of becoming a teenager. Often filled with love, energy, questions and the ability to conquer anything they put their mind to. We’ve found quite a group for this edition of Savvy’s Amazing Tweens! 

Evie Droste


This amazing tween is an impressive athlete who took up triathlons after a family member suffered a terrible, disabling accident while training for one. Ten-year-old Evie took up the extreme hobby as a way to motivate and encourage her great uncle through recovery. She’s competed in more than 50 junior triathlons (where she’s sometimes the only girl in her age division), picked up several corporate sponsorships and participated in three USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships. On top of that she’s a competitive swimmer, loves gymnastics and excels in school where she’ll accelerate from fourth to sixth grade this year. Evie and parents Lindsey and Roy live in Vilonia. Here’s what Mom had to say about her exceptional champ: 

“Evie is absolutely an amazing tween. She took up kids’ triathlons as a way to encourage my uncle through his rehabilitation and recovery, and he’s now able to attend some of her triathlons and cheer her on in person, using his walker or cane. To top it all off, Evie excels at school where teachers determined she was a great candidate for acceleration though they have only granted it to three kids in over 25 years. Her greatest strength is reading, and she finished the ‘Harry Potter’ series in a little over two months!”

Casey Reed


This impressive 10-year-old is a teddy bear with an ambitious resume. He consistently makes the A and B honor roll at his school, where he’s a member of the news team and earned a leading role in their theatrical production of “King Lear.” He volunteers with his mother and sister at the Arkansas Dream Center to feed the community as well as at the Humane Society of Pulaski County, where he provides snuggles and human contact to animals, which helps increase their chances of being adopted. He stays active playing football, soccer, swimming and basketball, and has been a member of Boys Scouts of America for five years. You may recognize this dashing smile as the reigning Junior Mr. UAPB at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff! His proud parents Melanie Madkin and Timothy Reed Sr. live in Little Rock. Here’s what Mom had to say about her impressive tween: 

“What makes Casey an amazing kid? First, coming from a single parent’s household, Casey is an exceptional young man. He’s a kid with a huge and comical heart. Not only is he an awesome son and big brother, but he’s a great student that loves to ask a LOT of questions. Casey is an exceptional student, brother, athlete and Christian, and he was recently honored by Healthcare Express for completing the leadership program and received a trophy for having the highest points in the elementary level.”

Brannan McMinn


Brannon is an impressive 12-year-old who seems to excel in anything he tries. He’s honed his theatric skills at The Rep’s SMTI program, received the lead role of “Elvis” in the annual Cabot Middle School North’s Rockin’ at the Hop program, and also played “Daddy Warbucks” at Ward Central Elementary School’s production of “Annie.” He’s an accomplished trapshooter, and has competed in a state competition; plays football; was selected to be a member of the school band percussion section; and still makes time to excel in his schoolwork. His parents, Jimmy and Stacey, of Cabot, are so proud. Here’s what Mom had to say about her well-rounded son: 

“Brannon is an amazing kid because he is so versatile. In addition to his extracurricular activities, he volunteers regularly for both Beyond Boundaries, an equine-assisted therapy center, and Leaping Beyond, a modified sports camp for children with disabilities. He has maintained A’s and B’s throughout his six years of school and has received numerous scholastic awards such as the Honor Roll, “Out of the Box” and Music Award. 

Payton Hammond


Payton is a mild-mannered gentleman with a ton of original style. He’s an obvious trendsetter and bound for great things! He’s defied a diagnosis of autism at age 3 and, now at age 11, has grown leaps and bounds beyond the many things he was told he would never do. He’s a compassionate big brother to two in a house full of boys, and has shown great ability for art and math and continues to impress his parents, Kamilah and Terrell of Little Rock, daily. Here’s what Mom had to say about her Picasso-in-the-making: 

“Let me tell you guys about this 'au-some' tween named Payton Hammond! Not only does his character speaks for itself, but he never lets his diagnosis define him. Over the years, Payton has not only met his milestones but exceeded them. He’s very verbal and his communication skills are off the chart. He is so smart and he loves math. He has two loving baby brothers and the love he shows for those two is amazing! He’s taken an interest in drawing (freehand) with a pen, and makes no mistakes. How much more amazing can he be?! “ 

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This 7-year-old little ray of sunshine has been defying odds and impressing her parents, Jeff and Aimee of Conway, since she was born—2½ months early. She was released, much to the doctors’ and nurses’ surprise, after only 30 days at UAMS and hasn’t slowed down since. She’s an entertainer with a giving spirit. Because of her outgoing personality, she was chosen as the spokes-kid for United Way of Central Arkansas and just finished filming her first commercial. She also had a cameo in the past three Conway High School musical productions. For her last birthday, Karson collected school supplies instead of presents for Stuff the Bus, and also competed in a milkshake-eating contest sponsored by Purple Cow where she won the “Spirit Award” for raising the most money in her division for Bethlehem House, a local homeless shelter. Here’s a little of what Mom had to say about her precious angel: 

“Karson was born a fighter and has continued to amaze us all since birth. She’s such a kind-hearted child. She’s witty, funny, loving and a joy to be around. Karson loves her family and her dog, Ryce, and she’s considered the chicken whisperer around our house because the chickens no longer run from her, they sit down when she comes their way because they know she’ll pick them up and love them. She’s an all-around awesome kid and we are blessed to be her parents.”