Skipper receives award

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Patrick Skipper is a young man with a very busy schedule.

First of all, let's discuss the offices Skipper holds. This Fort Dale Academy senior serves as president of his class, president of the school's FACTS Club (Fellowship of Active Christian Students and Teachers), president of the National Honor Society and the Senior Beta Club and is one of two officers heading the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

It's little wonder that Skipper, son of Tim and Pat Skipper of Greenville, was chosen as one of only 25 students nationwide to receive the prestigious John W. Harris Leadership Award from the National Beta Club.

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The award, named for Beta Club founder John Harris, focuses on proven leadership skills, service to school and community and character traits in the Beta Club creed as its criteria for winners.

Mrs. Jo Williams, a teacher at FDA and the school's long-time Beta Club sponsor, submitted Skipper's name for consideration for the award. "In my 20-plus years of nominating students annually for this award, this is the first time we've had a winner . . . it truly is an honor," says Williams.

Let's make it clear, Skipper is more than just an office-holder. This easy-going guy is known for his good heart, courtly manner and his delightful sense of humor.

These attributes have made him a favorite with students and teachers alike.

He's been voted "Most Dependable" and "Best All Around" in the yearbook Who's Who, chosen "Good Citizenship Award" winner by his homeroom teachers four years in a row and been a "Class Favorite" the last three years.

"Pat's always been able to make me laugh," says his proud mom, who is herself an award-winning computer and accounting teacher at FDA.

Patrick Skipper is a guy who loves sports and is actively involved in the athletics program at FDA.

He plays football, was on the school weight-lifting team and currently serves as the shot-putter on the track team.

In his self-deprecating way, he explains, "I'm just getting started with the shot-putt . . . I'm still learning and not real great at it yet."

He can hardly say that about his experiences on the football field, however.

He served as varsity football captain and was chosen varsity's "Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman" two years in a row.

He's also been named first team on the All-State Squad and an AISA

All-Star for 2000, serving as the captain of the All-Star team.

"We almost made it to that state championship this year . . . we came really close.

I have to say it was fun," Skipper says with a smile of the Eagle's outstanding football season in 2000.

While Skipper's sports practices keep him "stretched out" time-wise, he always seems to find time for community.

In the past, Skipper assisted with a 10 to 12 year-old girls' softball team through Greenville's Parks and Recreation Department.

"Sundays are very busy for me.

There's Sunday School . . . I also work with our church's [Garland Baptist] youth and help teach a discipleship training class," Skipper says.

He is also a member of Garland's choir, an usher and he regularly appears in church drama skits and plays. At Christmastime, Skipper has joined in spreading holiday cheer to shut-ins through caroling and the delivery of fruit baskets.

Through both his church and clubs at school Skipper has been able to make a difference in both the local and worldwide community.

"In FACTS Club I chaired a project to collect money to buy food and supplies for needy families overseas through the Samaritan's Purse ministry . . . we have also participated in Operation: Christmas Child which is a shoebox ministry.

We collected about 20 shoeboxes of toys to go to needy children in other countries for the holidays," Skipper explains. Locally, Skipper helped organize the collection of Christmas gifts for needy families through the Department of Human Resources.

He's also organized the school's "See You at the Pole Rally" on two occasions and helped organize and participate in the first FACTS Club Christian Assembly for teachers and students in 1999.

This DAR Good Citizenship Award winner also finds to time at school to serve as a member of the computer and English teams and the SGA. He's been the winner of national awards in the fields of science, math, English, business education and leadership and was named an "All-American Scholar" by the US Achievement Academy,

It's little wonder he doesn't have a lot of free time, but when he does, Skipper says he enjoys a bit of hunting and fishing-"you know, that good ol' boy kind of stuff," he quips, trademark grin in place.

Patrick Skipper has won a prestigious national award with obvious good reason.

This bright, talented, athletic and compassionate young man is someone not only his family, school and church can be proud of-he's yet another "Hometown Hero" all of Butler County can feel good about.