Newton, Paulk honored at banquet

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 8, 2004

Before a crowd of over 400 people on hand at the First Baptist Church of Greenville's Family Life Center, Lakyn Newton and Brett Paulk were named recipients of the seventh annual Achiever Award.

The award, presented by the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greenville YMCA, recognizes students who exhibit excellence in athletics, Christian leadership, community service, scholastics and extracurricular involvement. They were judged in all five areas and for their interview skills, with athletics serving as a basis.

Patterned after the Jimmy Hitchcock Award presented by the Montgomery YMCA, the Achiever Award has been one of the most sought after scholarships by seniors throughout Butler County. Newton and Paulk each received a $1,500 cash award to be used to defray college expenses.

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"It was wonderful, I think it was the best one yet," Achiever Award committee member Keith Taylor said. "I thought that it was a great group of boys and girls that were nominated and two deserving winners. If the speaker wasn't the best we ever had, he was definitely tied for best."

Newton, a senior at Greenville High School, was a cheerleader and softball standout for the Lady Tigers. She knew the decision would be hard for the outnofntown judges to make with such a wellnrounded group of nominees.

"I was shocked," she said. "It was an honor to be nominated and a bigger privilege to win. All the nominees were just as deserving as I am to win the award."

Paulk, a senior at Fort Dale Academy, played football, basketball and golf for the Eagles, but on the basketball court is where he shined. He was named the Alabama Independent School Association's Class AAA state tournament Most Valuable Player this past season and his junior year as he helped lead the Eagles to backntonback state titles. Winning the award was a surprise to the hoopster.

"It was real honoring," he said. "That award is not something you win individually. It might have one person's name on it and is presented to one person, but an individual can't do it all by him or herself. I can't take all the credit for. There have been a lot of people that have helped throughout my high school career."

Taylor believes both Newton and Paulk are very deserving of the awards.

"I thought Lakyn has done wonderful leading Greenville's softball team and helping them get to the next level," he said. "Brett has done everything that he can be asked to do. He's a twontime state MVP and has won two state basketball championships, what more can you ask for. All parents would like to have Lakyn and Brett as their children."