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Coaches, teachers applaud Achiever choices

Greenville High School’s Amber Andrews and McKenzie High School’s Charles “Chas” Windham are Butler County’s Achiever Award winners for 2009.

“I’m still in shock a little bit,” said Andrews after the ceremony.

Ronald Bogan, Greenville’s basketball coach and Andrews’ coach for three years, said the award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving athlete.

“It’s definitely well-deserved,” he said. “She’s a very good athlete, and she’s definitely a leader on our team. She’s also a leader in the classroom and in her church, and you can definitely see the maturity in her.”

Andrews had a number of people to thank for helping her achievement the award.

“All thanks go to the Lord and everyone that had faith to help me get here,” she said. “My mom, my family and my coach played a big part.”

Windham is McKenzie’s first Achiever Award winner since 2002, and he said he was also surprised.

“I’m shocked,” he said. “When you get an award like this, you certainly don’t expect it.”

McKenzie’s football coach and athletic director Miles Brown said it’s been an honor to coach Windham for the last three years.

“All his hard work is a product of his parents, grandparents and family,” he said. “I firmly believe that. This is just the tip of the iceberg with Chas. He’s a tremendous athlete and he’s worked extremely hard to get where he is.”

Windham closed his comments with a “War Eagle,” to guest speaker Charlie Trotman, who was quarterback for Auburn from 1977-79.

During his speech, Trotman expressed his perception of all the nominees.

“You guys are something to aspire to — you’re role models now,” he said. “You are a very, very impressive group.”

“There may be a time that we look back and recognize someone who has done great things in life,” Trotman said. “You have the most amazing opportunities anyone has ever had. You just have to be smart and know what to do with them.”

This year’s Achiever Award field of nominees was particularly strong, according to Greenville YMCA Director Amanda Phillips. The award, started in 1998, recognizes the top senior scholar/athlete in Butler County each year.

Judges narrowed their selection down to three boys and three girls, and initially wanted to grant all six a scholarship, said Phillips. Achiever winners are awarded a $1500 scholarship.

Greenville native Ralph Stacy, and President of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, served as emcee for this year’s event in the absence of Allen Stephenson, who is recovering from illness.

Andrews is the daughter of Johnnie Mae and Tony Hatten. She played basketball and volleyball at GHS, is a member of the National Honor Society, and also worked as a volunteer with numerous community programs.

Windham is the son of Linda and Charles Windham. He participated in football, basketball and baseball at McKenzie, was a recipient of the 2009 Regional Bryant-Jordan Scholarship and is valedictorian of his class.

– Kevin Pearcey contributed to this report.