CANTON, Ohio — Emily Scott left for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Weekend as one of 25 national finalists for the U.S. Army and Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence. She returned home a few days later as the winner.
On Saturday, during the weekend’s luncheon, Scott was announced as the overall winner just prior to attending the big event of the day — the enshrinement of the Class of 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees.
“I was super surprised (to be named the winner),” said Scott, a top 2017 East Bladen grad and three-sport athlete. “There were 24 other finalists who were all awesome, and I can’t imagine how they chose just one. They all deserve it as much or even more than I do.”
The experience and award, though, means a lot to Scott going forward.
“This is such a humbling experience …” she said. “It teaches me that what I do with this award is so important.”
The Award for Excellence program highlights the achievements of student-athletes across the country. Open to all sophomore, junior and senior level high school athletes in the United States, the program focuses on athletic achievement combined with excellence in academics and community engagement. All 25 of the finalists were on hand at the luncheon.
“Every one of these guys in here with a gold jacket (Hall of Fame inductees), they were born an ordinary person, and every one of these finalists were born ordinary people. Some of you may have good genes, but it’s what you decide to do with it that matters,” said Mark Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing. “By choosing who you want to surround yourself with, or being lucky enough to be surrounded by awesome parents, you have made choices to get to where you are – and you have made wise choices. You’re driven. You’re driven to succeed and you inspire all of us.”
Scott said she has worked hard for a moment like this one, but couldn’t have done it without support.
“… the support of my family and coaches, my community who have all supported me and pushed me to be the best I can be led up to this moment,” she said. “Not only is this award something I have worked towards for several years now, it’s also an award that marks the beginning of my new journey towards achieving excellence as I begin college …”
East Bladen Athletics Director Patty Evers, who coached Scott in both basketball and softball, accompanied he former student-athlete to Canton for the big weekend.
“Emily exemplifies every core value these organizations stand by,” she said. “Her academic/athletic accomplishments, community service, her integrity, character, trust and honesty have set her apart.
“She is the most deserving young lady because of her leadership and continued drive to excel in everything she does,” Evers added. “I am humbled to have coached such a special individual …”
Those who helped select Scott as the national winner knew the success, accomplishments and potential she brought to the table.
“How do we find people to form the character of our country; to be the leaders of tomorrow; to be more than what we are – which is what all parents want their children to be?” asked David Baker, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s president/CEO. “We like to think that our partnership with the U.S. Army optimizes that. These are the people who have the highest character. We have our five values here at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and they have their seven at the U.S. Army.
“There are only 175 Gold Jackets alive today, but the best 25 high school students in the United States are in this room today,” he added. “You all excel in athletics, academics, and community service. And you guys have not only been identified as the best for your high school careers but as those who might be the best moving forward. ”
Scott plans to continue her drive toward future success by attending East Carolina University to study biochemistry and communications — all aimed at pursuing a career in medical genetics/genetic research. She is the daughter of Bryon and Judith Scott of Elizabethtown.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or by email at email@example.com.