Howard, who has led thousands of Harlan Countians in Jazzercise classes for the last 24 years, was given the Rising Star award because of her successful class attendance. She was presented the award because she's been one of Jazzercise's top money makers, having earned gross revenues of at least $14,000 in the past year.
Howard contributed to the Jazzercise franchise's record $76 million in system-wide sales in the 2005-06 year.
"I'm totally shocked," Howard said. "I didn't know I was even in the running for this award. I love Jazzercise, or I wouldn't have stayed with it for as long as I have. I love the changes it's made in people's lives, how it gives them better bodies and builds confidence."
Jazzercise was started in 1969 when Judi Sheppard Missett turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon. She's advanced business opportunities for both women and men in the fitness industry by growing her program into an international franchise, which today hosts a network of 6,000 instructors teaching more than 30,000 classes weekly in 30 countries.
"Jazzercise is number one in the world for all workout needs, like cardio and aerobic," Howard said. "It's been proven to be effective. I've seen it myself through the years. I've led women, and now I'm leading their children. I even have my granddaughter in one class. I said I was going to retire when I reach 25 years, but it doesn't look like it. I'm having too much fun."
Howard leads her Jazzercise classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Loyall gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. every night.
For more information about the classes, contact Howard at 573-0078.