If Karadyn Lewis had to describe her senior year of high school in a word, it might be supercalifragilisticexpialadosis.
Karadyn, the 17-year-old daughter of Lt. Col. Eric Lewis of Huntsville and his wife Erica, had the lead role of Mary Poppins in a recent production by the same name at Sparkman High School.
Eric Lewis is an active Guard Reserve officer who serves with the Army acquisition corps at the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, and Erica Lewis is the school liaison officer for Children and Youth Servicest.
Theater “is my entire life at the moment,” said Karadyn, who was born and raised as an “Army brat.”
She has moved five times, but spent the last three years at Sparkman, where she established roots for the first time and not only thrived but blossomed.
Everything is coming up roses for Karadyn, whose singing, dancing and acting talent also landed her the leading role of Belle in last year’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” at Sparkman.
She has also done so well academically that she has earned a full scholarship to Tuskegee University in the fall, where she plans to pursue a major in biology as the first step of her longtime career goal.
“Something in the medical field, some sort of doctor,” Karadyn said. “I’ve always had that passion.”
Near constant moves throughout her life have been good and bad influences in her development, she said.
The pros: “Getting to see a lot of different places. You become more culturally aware,” she said.
The cons: “We struggle to make connections and friendships because of the constant moving,” she said. At Sparkman, she finally feels settled. “Here, yes, for sure. Other places, not so much.”
In fact, overall, Huntsville is the best place she has lived.
“I honestly think emotionally it’s got to be here,” Karadyn said. “I’m really happy here.”
Her parents are both natives of Mississippi and met in college at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena.
“He was in ROTC in college,” Erica Lewis said. “He got commissioned as an officer when he graduated.”
The couple married before he left for his first full-time Army job at Fort Hood, Texas, where they spent a total of 10 years in different assignments.
They have also been stationed at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he attended the Command and General Staff College; and three years at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan.
Three years ago they came to Redstone Arsenal and Huntsville, which is convenient to both of their families in Mississippi.
Although a final decision hasn’t been made, Lewis said she and her husband don’t anticipate another move. He is likely to retire in the next four to six years, she said.
“We’re thinking we’re going to make Alabama home,” she said. “This is probably the last stop.”
And that’s just fine with younger daughter Alyna, 11, a fifth-grade student at Monrovia Elementary School, where her favorite subject is science and volleyball is an extracurricular activity.
Her favorite place to live so far was Michigan. “I just like the cold,” Alyna said. “I remember there was a lot of snow.”
Although she has not had as many moves as her sister, Alyna has the same attitude about being a military child.
“The good thing is, you get to meet new people when you move,” she said. “But it’s kind of sad when you leave your friends.”