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Bess, Nolan, Poole win Achiever Awards

A first-time ever number of nominees created a first-time ever situation with the Butler County Achiever Awards.

Two male students – Berry Bess of Greenville High School and Daniel Nolan of Fort Dale Academy – were each honored as male Achiever Award winners during Thursday’s annual banquet held at First Baptist Church.

Before announcing the male award winners, Achiever Committee Chair Amanda Phillips told the audience that the judges had been unable to decide between Bess or Nolan because both were deserving of the award.

It was the first tie in the Achiever Award’s 13-year history. 37 students were nominated from Butler County Magnet School, McKenzie School, Fort Dale Academy and Greenville High School this year, the largest pool of candidates ever.

Both Nolan and Bess were gracious honorees.

“I’m grateful…to my coaches and parents and the Lord,” said Bess.

Nolan said his parents and grandparents raised him “the right way,” and he thanked FDA head coach James “Speed” Sampley, specifically, for the lessons he’d learned on the football field.

“Everybody out there deserves this,” Nolan said, recognizing his fellow nominees. “They deserve it just as much as we do.”

The Achiever Award recognizes the top student athlete in the county.

There was no such split-decision in the female category. FDA’s Lauren Poole was the winner.

“This is such an honor…everyone that was nominated are truly amazing people,” she said. “I certainly wasn’t expecting this.”

About the winners:

– Poole is the daughter of Lynn and William Poole and was on the tennis team for four years at FDA. She was first and fifth seed District Champion, first seed Doubles Runner up, FDA Tennis Team MVP and a Wendy’s Heisman Award Nominee. She was the AISA 3A State Champion, first seed Doubles Runner up and received the AISA Tennis first Seed Award. She also cheered for the Eagles three years. She attends Saint Paul United Methodist Church and helps with Easter egg hunts, Fall Festival and church upkeep, and also volunteers with Joseph Ministries, Haiti fundraiser and blood drives. She is a member of the Greenville Area Tennis Association, won the Father/Daughter Tournament and helps coach children. She is Valedictorian of her class, received the Birmingham Southern College Foundation Award Scholarship and Troy University Chancellor’s Award Scholarship. Additionally, Poole is a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Key Club, Fellowship Among Christian Teachers and Students, Bible Club, Yearbook Staff, Eagle Representatives, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Math Team. She was Miss Greenville High School, Interview Award winner and Tiger Representative in 2007.

– Bess is the son of Brenda and Berry Lee. He was a four-starter for the Greenville Tigers, was team captain, a North/South All Star Game nominee and received a football scholarship to Tuskegee University. He was a shot putter on the track and field team his senior year. He attends Kelly Temple Holiness and is a youth usher. He has been a counselor-in-training at the YMCA, Greenville Middle School team camp volunteer, Hwashin Fun Day volunteer and built bleachers for Tiger Stadium. Bess is also an accomplished horse rider and has participated and placed in many competitions. He is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Mu Alpha Theta, Fishing Club and X-Box Club.

– Nolan is the son of Kaye and Clay Nolan. He lettered in football and track four years and baseball two years. He was the AISA State Tournament Track MVP and won first place in 110M, 300M, hurdles and long jump. He was a Wendy’s Heisman Nominee, football MVP and Most Outstanding Offensive Back as well as AISA All-Star and All State Football team member. Nolan attends Bethel Baptist Church and participates in youth group, elderly care, neighborhood improvement, Vacation Bible School, mission trips and Nursing Home Ministry. He volunteers with Calico Fort, Relay for Life and community clean up projects and plays baseball with Greenville Parks and Recreation and helps with school activities and projects for the campus. Nolan is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, Beta Club, Technology Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Fellowship Among Christian Teachers and Students and Drama Club. He received the Butler County Cattlewomen’s Scholarship and was a Science Fair winner