By ASHLEY BERKERY
Sisters Leslie Doyle and Elizabeth Studinka have fond memories of growing up in Homewood—so much in fact that they have chosen to raise their own families here. They grew up in Forest Brook with the maiden name Bugg but were not annexed in Homewood schools until Elizabeth was in second grade, when she then attended Hall-Kent elementary and Leslie was at HMS.
As the “new kid” in middle school, Leslie remembers making friends quickly by joining the show choir. Music was an important part of their childhood with their father directing the Opera Department at Samford University for 33 years.
Both sisters were heavily involved in music programs throughout school.
The year Elizabeth started the middle school the family moved to Wellington Road, where Elizabeth’s childhood memories include walking and biking to friends’ houses, Big B Drugs and Dino’s Hot Dogs for snacks.
Both attended Auburn University, five years apart, where Elizabeth ultimately decided to pledge Leslie’s sorority, Tri Delta, and be a part of something her sister loved so much.
After college, Elizabeth moved back to Birmingham and was a lifeguard at the Homewood pool with her friend and college roommate, Tiffany Studinka.
“I met Tiffany’s brother, Kevin, in middle school when I was an eighth grade aide for show choir and he was in sixth grade,” Elizabeth said, “but he conveniently says he doesn’t remember that. We reconnected after college, started dating and have been married for 10 years now with three beautiful children.”
Leslie met her husband, Carter, at Auburn and the two were married in 1995 after he received his master’s degree in education from UAB. After teaching and coaching at Hoover for several years, Carter is now employed at Homewood High School.
“We love living in Homewood near my sister and her family,” Leslie said. “Having an only child, it is nice for him to be near his cousins, and of course his grandparents are still in Homewood, which is special.”
Although the sisters both live in Homewood, being working moms makes it tough to see each other as much as they would like. Elizabeth teaches fourth grade at Oak Mountain Intermediate School, and Leslie is an area marketing manager at Regions Bank and a board member of The Homewood Foundation.
“We make time for each other through girl’s nights and afternoon pedicures,” Elizabeth said. “And with Mom and Dad still in Homewood, we are all able to get together with them several times a week.”
Their kids go to different elementary schools, but through their involvement with Homewood youth sports, the sisters are able to hang out at the ball park when games overlap.
Elizabeth and Leslie have made new friends with other sports parents from all areas of Homewood, but it is rare to catch Elizabeth out without one of her childhood friends.
“Homewood has so many wonderful things about it – the small town community feel, the parks and pools, and the great school system,” Elizabeth said, “but the most special thing to me is my cherished friendships with my childhood friends.”
Years later she still hangs out with her core group of friends from Hall-Kent.
Today their children are now in school together at Hall-Kent, and they take family vacations together.
Leslie seconds her love for Homewood. Some of her friendships with Homewood graduates are even stronger now than they were in high school.
“That is the beauty of Homewood,” Leslie said, “its strong sense of community that you can’t find many places.”