Student Wins Trip to See Katy Perry

Friday, January 21, 2011

University of West Georgia student Cory Woodard plans on a career in the entertainment business. He’s off to a good start.

His video about the person who is his “firework” won him a free trip to London to see singer Katy Perry in concert.

Perry announced the win on “Extra” on January 6. The contest was based on Perry’s song of the same name and asked entrants to submit their personal inspiration.

In Woodard’s case that’s his mother, Sandy Gilbreath, 41.

Woodard, a mass communications major, recorded his three-minute video on his laptop from his Carrollton apartment near campus. 

His mom is inspiration because she’s never let him give up. She’s told him “if you can't stand up, stand out,” Woodard said on the video.

The 20-year-old Lafayette, Ga., native has muscular dystrophy and has been in a wheelchair since he was about three years old.

Perry’s song talks about “the firework within, the light within, and going after anything that you want, regardless of the situation you may be in,” Woodard said in an interview.

“That struck a cord with me. My mom has always been there for me.”

Both are “huge” Katy Perry fans.

When he was five years and wanted to play baseball, Woodard was rejected because he was in a wheelchair. That didn’t deter his mom, Woodard said.

The single mother started a baseball team for children with disabilities: The Champs.

“She really has always been there and without her I don’t know where I would be or what I would do,” he said in the video.

England will be another pinpoint on Woodard’s map, who wants to travel to all seven continents.

He’s traveled throughout the U.S., and been to Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Austria and Germany with his mom.

An aficionado of German culture, Woodard has the word “ambition” tattooed on his arm in honor of his mother.

Woodard is taking his mom to London, of course. Also going on the trip are her boyfriend, Wayne Samples, 43, of Lafayette, and Woodard’s  live-in caregiver, Kateshia Riley, 35.

The concert is March 18. The trip lasts for six days and five nights.

Woodard is scheduled to graduate in 2012.

After graduation he has his eyes set on Los Angeles.

The plans aren’t firmed up yet, but Woodard wants to work with celebrities, write for a magazine or do some marketing.

“Something,” he said, “in the entertainment field.”