Last updated: August 01. 2014 12:01AM - 141 Views

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High-school coaches and athletics directors certainly have more than enough to think about, especially this time of year when the fall sports seasons are about to explode on the scene.

But we want to give them one more thing to keep in mind.

With the start of the 2014-15 school year will be the start of the third annual Mountaire Farms/Civitas Media Scholar-Athlete of the Month scholarship program in Bladen County.

The program, which is also offered in Robeson and Scotland counties, offers local seniors who achieve success both in athletics and academics the chance to earn a $1,000 scholarship. And, in June, a celebration banquet is held to recognize all 10 of the monthly winners — as well as to announce a Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, each of whom will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship.

Bladen County has been well represented over the past two years of the program. In the first year, West Bladen had three monthly winners in Erica Tanner, Lucas McNeil and Abbey Walters — and Walters went on to be named the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. During the past school year, West Bladen’s Mallory Davis and East Bladen’s Cameron West were monthly winners.

There have also been some disappointments along the way. East Bladen’s Melissa Macon would have been a sure winner, but was never nominated a couple years ago; West Bladen’s Courtney Thompson was nominated this past year, but somehow got overlooked despite finishing her basketball career as the state’s No. 4 all-time leading rebounder.

But here’s the bottom line: There may not be a guarantee that a nomination will result in being selected a monthly winner, but not being nominated assures that the student-athlete can’t win. So we urge coaches and athletics directors to give careful consideration — the sooner the better — to any student-athlete who is exemplary (not only the scoring leader, rushing leader, batting average leader … but perhaps the team’s motivational leader) on the field or court, as well as in the classroom.

The sooner during the school year a nomination is made, the better chance there is of getting a winner from your school.

Nominations MUST come from a coach or athletics director and include the following: A letter from the individual making the nomination stating why the student-athlete is being nominated; up-to-date statistics for the student-athlete; a listing of community organizations they are part of, including church they attend; and an official transcript for the student.

Nominations should be sent or delivered to W. Curt Vincent at the Bladen Journal for consideration.

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