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Cathedral’s Garrity wins top scholarship at NFF banquet

Delta State University football head coach Todd Cooley congratulates Cathedral High School senior Thomas Garrity for winning the $3,000 scholarship from the National Football Foundation and College of Fame Inc. Miss-Lou chapter during 33rd annual awards banquet at the Eola Hotel Thursday night. (Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat)
Delta State University football head coach Todd Cooley congratulates Cathedral High School senior Thomas Garrity for winning the $3,000 scholarship from the National Football Foundation and College of Fame Inc. Miss-Lou chapter during 33rd annual awards banquet at the Eola Hotel Thursday night. (Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Just four years ago, Thomas Garrity remembers sitting at the junior high table and looking over to the high school table where he hoped to be sitting one day.

“I came (to the banquet) in the eighth grade (as a scholar athlete award recipient) and saw all the high schoolers,” Garity said. “I knew I wanted to be here again.”

Thursday night Garrity made his second trip back to the familiar Natchez Eola Hotel, where the event was hosted, for the 33rd annual banquet.

And this time, Garrity was able to win the first place, $3,000 scholarship award among six student athletes chosen from each local high school in the Miss-Lou.

“It’s unreal,” Garrity said. “It’s an honor to be here in the first place and to be here among the best student athletes.”

Garrity, a senior quarterback at Cathedral High School, maintained a 3.7 GPA and a 28 on the ACT while racking up 3,600 passing yards and 45 touchdowns his senior year. Garrity also led his team to a thrilling upset against top-ranked Stringer High School in its homecoming game.

Garrity said he wants to attend Mississippi State University in the fall, where he will major in biology before moving on to medical school.

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Cooley congratulates Ferriday High School senior Cailyn Glenn for winning the $2,250 scholarship. A total of six scholarships were awarded to local high school seniors. (Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat)

Cailyn Glenn of Ferriday High School was awarded the second place, $2,250 scholarship with a 4.0 GPA and a 29 on the ACT.

Glenn said he plans to attend Louisiana State University in the fall while majoring in kinesiology.

With lofty goals in mind, Garrity, Glenn and the other junior high and high school student athletes received a motivating speech from guest speaker and Delta State University head football coach Todd Cooley.

Cooley centered his message around “taking the governor off.”

“I want you to remember one thing,” Cooley said. “You have to take the governor off if you want to reach the new levels. The governor on a golf cart controls the speed, it controls how much you put out.

“Taking the governor off teaches you to reach new levels and of things you never thought you could do.”

Cooley told each of the student athletes to have a dream, and never stop until they reach it.

The six scholarship recipients are well on their way to reaching their dreams, Cooley said, and all they must do is continue to push themselves.

Other scholarship and award recipients include:

 Third and fourth place, $1,750 scholarship winners Blair Edit of Adams County Christian School and Jacob Sandrock of Trinity Episcopal Day School.

 Fifth and sixth place, $1,000 winners Avery Jones of Natchez High School and Kevin Coley Jr. of Vidalia High School.

 The winner of the Contributor to Amateur Football Coach Tom F. Williams.

 Winner of the Distinguished American Award David Massey.