Congrats to scholarship winners

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 1, 2009

One of the great sports events in the Miss-Lou happened on Thursday night.

No, it wasn’t a basketball, baseball or softball game. It was a banquet.

For the 28th year in a row, the Miss-Lou chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame rewarded seven deserving high school athletes with scholarship money.

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Cathedral’s Harrison Burns won the $2,250 first prize, while Vidalia High School’s Jake Martin received the second place scholarship of $2,000.

Trinity’s Jackson Bryant took home the third place scholarship of $1,750 while Melvin Davis, of Natchez High, T.J. Johnson, of Adams County Christian, Drew Loomis, of Huntington and Levier Pryor, of Ferriday High, each received $1,000 scholarships.

But while all of these athletes are outstanding on the field and court, that’s not the real reason why they received the scholarship money.

The foundation rewarded the athletes for their work in the classroom and the community more than their athletic prowess.

Burns was selected as Cathedral’s STAR student for his 30 ACT score as well as his extra-curricular work around the school and community.

Each of the other six athletes also have solid grades, and volunteer in school, community and church projects.

The foundation’s message to local athletes is a strong one. It’s not all about what you do on the football field, basketball court or baseball diamond. It’s much more important what you do in the rest of your life.

Most high school athletes don’t receive a scholarship to play collegiate athletics and only a finite percentage of college athletes go on to a pro sports career.

That’s why it’s important for high school athletes to keep their priorities in order, get their education and help out in the community.

High school athletes are also among the most visible students in any high school and are often looked up to the most.

There is the so-called dumb jock stereotype, in which the athletes are depicted as morons who pick on the nerds and get cheerleaders to do their homework for them.

However, the seven athletes that were honored on Thursday crash through that stereotype.

These guys, along with many other athletes at each of the area schools, are proving to be people worth looking up to.

They aren’t looking for the easy ride just because they play on the football team.

They are getting the job done in the classroom and the community.

A thank you should go out to the foundation for recognizing the importance of education and community service over athletic prowess and honoring those who do the right things.

And a congratulations goes out to not only the seven high school athletes that were honored on Thursday, but all the athletes that are working hard in the classroom and giving back to their community.

The world needs more people like you.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Democrat. He can be reached at