Scholar-Athlete returns to recognize region’s best

By Scott Schlaufman

September 26, 2013

Plenty of statistics get printed through the newspaper every year.

It starts now with competitions, touchdowns and kills. By winter they’ll be into layups and 3-pointers. In the spring, it turns into hits, strikeouts and RBIs. Stats are how athletes at any level, from prep to pro, are recognized. What did they do? How did their contribution help the team? They signify an individual’s apparent value to their team.

When it comes time to recognize these athletes, these same stats will carry a certain amount of weight, as they should, with athletes looking to achieve honors at the team, county and even the state levels.

It’s a feat hard enough on its own, made even harder with trying to balance a normal high school schedule, complete with homework and other activities. Things that result in a statistic of their own — grade point average.

Oftentimes in coverage of local student athletes, it’s that last statistic that gets overlooked at times, despite the consequences it can have related to the experiences after high school. A GPA could be the difference between an athlete going Division I or Division III once they graduate.

For senior athletes that value both high academic performance and high athletic skill, Mountaire Farms is once again teaming with Civitas Media, the parent company of the Robesonian and the Bladen Journal, to offer the Scholar-Athlete of the Month award program to athletes attending schools in Robeson, Bladen and Scotland counties.

Nominations are now open for this year’s program, which will honor its first athlete in late September and give away a $1,000 scholarship to a winner each month until June. Monthly winners will be eligible for an extra $1,500 scholarship that will be awarded in June to the male and female Scholar-Athletes of the Year.

Winners will also receive an engraved crystal trophy and their school receives a banner acknowledging the accomplishment.

Upon selection, the winner each month will be the focus of a story that will run in The Robesonian, the Bladen Journal and the Laurinburg Exchange. Nominated students must be seniors that participate on two or more varsity teams, as captain of one, and carry at least a 3.0 GPA.

When nominating a student, include their name, gender, the name of their school and which sports the athlete participates in. A coach recommendation and a transcript, report card or other form verifying the student’s grades must also be submitted at the time of nomination.

All nominations can be mailed to The Robesonian, attn: Scott Schlaufman, PO Box 1098, Lumberton, N.C. Nominations outside of Robeson County can also be given to Corbin Ensminger at the Laurinburg Exchange or Curt Vincent at the Bladen Journal.

Last year’s awards honored athletes from five schools within the program’s reach, which included the first winner from Scotland County, three from Bladen, and six from Robeson.

Some overcame obstacles such as the loss of loved ones, others simply worked tirelessly to give back to the communities they were raised in, all while putting together grades that any parent would be proud of despite the pressures of still only having 24 hours in a day.

Winners had a variety of backgrounds, from football and basketball to cheerleading, softball and swimming. The 10 recipients averaged a 4.2 GPA and participated in numerous clubs around the school.

The Scholar-Athlete isn’t intended to be an award for every athlete, nor is it meant to be that way. It takes talent to succeed on the field and even more to succeed off it simultaneously.

Those who can properly do both deserve the recognition.

Scott Schlaufman is the Sports Editor at the Robesonian in Lumberton. He can be reached at 910-272-6111 or by emailing