Achiever Banquet set for May 2

Published 3:36 pm Friday, April 5, 2013

Twenty-seven of Butler County’s top achievers will be honored May 2 at the 16th annual Butler County Achiever Award Banquet.

The Achiever Award recognizes top student-athletes from area schools who not only excel in the classroom and on the playing field, but are also involved in church and the community.

“We’re really looking forward to having the chance to recognize these outstanding young people,” said Francine Wasden, a member of the Achiever Award board of directors. “They are certainly all worthy of being named achievers.”

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Student-athletes from Fort Dale Academy, Georgiana School, Greenville High School and McKenzie School will be recognized, and two students – a male and a female – will walk away with a $1,500 scholarship.

Dr. John Ed Mathison will serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s banquet, which will be held at First Baptist Church.

Mathison served as the senior minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery for 36 years before retiring in June of 2008.

Under his leadership, Frazer grew from 400 members to more than 8,800 and had the largest Sunday School attendance for United Methodist churches in America. In 1986 the Church Leadership Institute sited Frazer as the fastest growing church of any denomination in Alabama. In 1999, the church was given the National Church of the Year Award from Neighbors Who Care, the victim assistance arm of Prison Fellowship, founded by Chuck Colson. Most recently, in 2006, The Church Reporter magazine recognized Frazer as the 25th most influential church in America.

Mathison, the son of a Methodist minister, graduated from Opelika High School and Young Harris Junior College. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College, a bachelor of divinity degree from Candler School of Theology, a master’s degree from Princeton University, and the Doctor of Ministry Degree from Candler School of Theology.

Mathison was also a standout athlete as well as a scholar.

He was an all-state basketball player for three years in high school and was captain and leading scorer for Huntingdon College.

He was consistently ranked number one in his age division in tennis in Alabama and has been ranked No. 3 in the south. He has won seven state racquetball championships.

Mathison is a nationally known and sought-after speaker. For several years he has served as platform speaker for the National Conference of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and platform speaker for the National Hi-Y Tri-Hi-Y Conference at Black Mountain, N.C. He is a seminar speaker at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove.

Tickets for the banquet, which will begin at 6 p.m., can be purchased at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. The cost is $15. For more information call (334) 382-3251.