2023 Maggy Awards: Lifestyle

Stray Volts

Best Music Group

From left: Marcel, Jeremy, John, and Angie

Local rock band Stray Volts might not be as big as Linkin Park (yet), but in the end, it doesn’t even matter. As this year’s winner for Best Local Music Group, they are obviously hitting all the right notes.

“Winning the Maggy Award is an incredible honor, and we’re grateful for the recognition,” said Marcel, Lead Guitar & Audio/Video Engineer. “It’s also a pleasant surprise, as we didn’t actively campaign for it. We won because our fans took the initiative and wrote in their favorite band, and we’re truly humbled by their support. Winning also gives us the motivation to keep pushing ourselves as performers in order to deliver the best possible show every time we play.”

With Angie on lead vocals and guitar, Jeremy on drums and lighting, John on bass and vocals, and Marcel on lead guitar, Stray Volts delivers a concert-like experience that is more than just live music — it’s an energetic performance that breaks the barrier between the stage and crowd.


DeShannon Morris

Best High School Coach

Alongside their Maggy win for Best Private School, GRACE Christian’s basketball coach, DeShannon Morris, claims this year’s title for Best High School Coach.

This win was a slam dunk for Morris, who has been coaching basketball for 22 years.

“I aspire to use my job as a coach to teach life skills and transform lives,” said Morris. “I believe a coach should do two things: Teach and Inspire. I LOVE MY FAMILY and I rock with Christ!”

Morris says he’s grateful for the support of the leadership team at GRACE Christian and the “opportunity to work with such wonderful colleagues.” His biggest thrill, however, comes from inspiring young men and women and transforming lives.

“I want to thank Cary Magazine and all those who voted for me for this wonderful award,” said Morris. “It means a lot to me that people would take the time to vote for me. I am humbled by the support and love shown by the community at large.”

AKtivate Fitness

Best Fitness Program

From left: Adrien King, Tharu Koshy, and Meagan Jacobs

When it comes to local fitness programs, there is a lot to choose from — but AKtivate Fitness, our 2023 Maggy winner for Best Fitness Program, seems to be worth its weight in gold!

High-energy owners Adrien King, Meagan Jacobs, and Tharu Koshy say that AKtivate is a “one-stop shop for fitness,” and with a wall full of punching bags and weights, they’re not lying. Don’t look for a treadmill, though — they’ll get you nowhere.

“We offer boxing, kickboxing, and strength training,” said King. “A lot of people want to travel to different gyms, different places, to get different benefits, but we have all the benefits at one gym. We also have a community, and we focus on growing that community. Everyone can have a good workout, but having a good workout with good people and a good community? You can’t always get that from every gym.”

Unbelievably, AKtivate has only been open for a year — so clearly their electrifying workouts in a positive, nonjudgmental environment are working (and fast)!

“It means everything,” said Jacobs of their Maggy win. “Just to know where we started and know where we’re at. It’s just a great experience and a great opportunity.”


Beltline to Broadway

Best Podcast

Lauren Van Hemert, host, Beltline to Broadway

Based out of Cary, Beltline to Broadway originally started as RDU on Stage in 2019.

“My background was in radio broadcasting, so the idea of a podcast intrigued me,” said podcast host Lauren Van Hemert. “Plus there wasn’t a podcast solely dedicated to covering regional and community theater in the Triangle, and as a journalist and blogger for Broadway World, I was having so many amazing conversations with theater makers about their craft and creative process. I wanted to share those.”

During Covid her audience exploded, and “folks from all over the country were tuning in to our daily live chats.” Realizing that RDU on Stage and its mission had grown, Van Hermert changed the name to Beltline to Broadway, became a 501(c)(3), and started covering topics that “not only impacted our regional theater community, but also impacted other regions around the country.”

“When we moved here from Miami 22 years ago, we knew nobody,” said Van Hemert. “Now to be recognized by this amazing community, which I love, for talking about theater and the arts, is overwhelming beyond words. This is home, which makes this award truly personal and humbling and monumental for me.”


All Kids Are Perfect

Best Social Media Account

Dana Broughton has been a pediatric physical therapist for 25 years, but now she is being recognized as the social media guru behind All Kids Are Perfect — our Maggy winner for Best Social Media Account.

“In 2020, I began researching a new intervention approach called DMI (Dynamic Movement Intervention),” said Broughton. “It completely changed my patients’ outcomes for the better and launched me on a new career path to help as many therapists and parents as I could. Currently, I am one of the first 14 practitioners around the world that is treating at the intermediate level of DMI.”

To expand her reach, Broughton started her Instagram page in 2021 — which now boasts 162,000 followers.

“I realized that there were so many new graduates working in early intervention that did not have the tools from school to help the 0-3 years population,” said Broughton. “When I started treating pediatrics 25 years ago, I had no idea what to do and would have loved to have someone mentor me. I wanted to be able to share my ideas and help mentor younger therapists. I quickly grew in numbers on Instagram, and parents started reaching out to me and telling me that I was helping them as well.”


Best Public School
Peak Charter Academy

Davis Drive Middle School
Dillard Drive Magnet Middle

Best Private School
Grace Christian School

Resurrection Lutheran School
Thales Academy

Best Active Adult Community

Carolina Preserve at Amberly

Best Nonprofit
Dorcas Ministries

Triangle Aphasia Project
Fit & Able Productions

Best Preschool
Oak Village Academy

Primrose Schools
St. Michael Preschool

Best Interior Design Firm
Lauren Burns Interiors

ASF Interiors
Southern Studio

Best Music Venue
Koka Booth Amphitheatre

Red Hat Amphitheater
Bond Brothers Eastside

Best Local Event/Festival
Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival

Chinese Lantern Festival
Freckled Hunnies Makers Market

Best Local Music Group/Artist
Stray Volts

The Good Doods
Jason Adamo Band

Best Coworking Space
Blush Cowork

Office Ours
Coworking Olive Chapel

Best Elementary School Principal
Steve Pond, Peak Charter Academy

Lynnae Morris, GRACE Christian School
Michael Regan, Mills Park Elementary School

Best Middle School Principal
Steve Pond, Peak Charter Academy

Michael Hokenberg, Davis Drive Middle School
Margaret Feldman, Dillard Drive Magnet Middle School

Best High School Principal
Karen Summers, Green Level High School

Nolan Bryant, Cary High School
Alison Cleveland, Green Hope High School

Best High School Coach
DeShannon Morris, Grace Christian Basketball

Ben Woolf, Green Level football
Coleman Tyrance, Cary High football

Best Place for Outdoor Recreation
Fred G. Bond Metro Park

William B. Umstead State Park
Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Best Place for a Friends’ Night Out
Bottle Theory

Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits

Best Yoga/Pilates Studio
Elite Core Studios

Pura Vida Studio
Club Pilates

Best Fitness Program
AKtivate Fitness

Par4Success Golf Fitness, Performance, and Physical Therapy
Wyatt’s World Fitness

Best Kids’ Program

Taal Harmony School of Dance

Premier School of Dance
Starpath Dance Academy

Best Track-Out/Summer Camp
Starpath Dance Academy

Pura Vida Studio

Best Local Podcast
Beltline to Broadway

Girls Who Do Stuff
The Holderness Family Podcast

Best Local TV Personality
Don Schwenneker

Debra Morgan
Elizabeth Gardner

Best Local Radio Personality
Erica Delong

KC O’Dea
Bryan Lord

Best NC Hotel or Resort
The Umstead Hotel & Spa

The Mayton Inn
The Omni Grove Park Inn

Best Social Media Account
All Kids Are Perfect

Ripken The Bat Dog
Dorcas Ministries

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