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Carlton, Parker win Achiever Awards

Fort Dale Academy seniors Cody Parker and Mary Claire Carlton were presented the 2016 Achiever Awards during a banquet on Thursday night at First Baptist Church. (Advocate Staff/Andy Brown)

Fort Dale Academy seniors Cody Parker and Mary Claire Carlton were presented the 2016 Achiever Awards during a banquet on Thursday night at First Baptist Church. (Advocate Staff/Andy Brown)

Fort Dale Academy senior Mary Claire Carlton strives each day to run the race set before her.

By doing so, she earned the top honor in the county for a student-athlete.

Carlton, along with fellow Fort Dale Academy senior Cody Parker, was presented the 2016 Achiever Award Thursday night at a banquet held at First Baptist Church.

The Achiever Award recognizes one male and one female student athlete from area schools who not only excel in the classroom and on the playing field, but also in church and community involvement.

As the recipients, both Carlton and Parker received $3,000 scholarships to be used at the college or university of their choice.

“I know that every individual that was nominated for this award is running the race that God has set before them with all the emotions they have in their heart, and that’s why it is such an honor to have received this award,” said Carlton. “One of the questions they asked me during my interview was, ‘Mary Claire, what motivates you?’ I thought about it because that’s a really deep question. I told them, ‘Well, every day that I wake up and see the sun rise, I know it’s a day that God has set before me to love, learn and run the race set before me with all the strength that I have.’ I just want to thank my family for motivating me to do that. It just means so much.”

Carlton has played volleyball, basketball, tennis and soccer during her time at Fort Dale. She’s president of the school’s Beta Club, vice president of the National Honor Society, a member of Mu Alpha Theta and the Key Club. She’s also the valedictorian of the Class of 2016.

Carlton is a member of Fort Deposit United Methodist Church where she helps lead youth services. She is also active in the church’s efforts with Operation Christmas Child.

Like Carlton, Parker said he is honored to be selected as this year’s award recipient, and acknowledged that it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of others.

“I’d like to thank my family for motivating me to achieve all I’ve done,” he said. “I’d like to thank my coaches for motivating me and pushing me as hard as they could and always knowing that I could do more than I thought I could. Last, but definitely not least, I’d like to thank God. It’s just an honor to receive this award.”

Parker lettered in football, baseball and basketball at Fort Dale for four years.

He’s a member of Mu Alpha Theta, Key Club, FACTS Club and FCA. He received the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award and in October was awarded the Leadership Scholarship to Marion Military Institute — the nation’s oldest military junior college.

Parker is a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church where he has served as an acolyte for five years.

Other nominees for the award included: Richard Boggan, Georgiana School; Jabreena Brantley, Greenville High School; Anjoy Castleberry, Fort Dale Academy; A’yana Cook, Greenville High School; Maurlan Dickerson, Fort Dale Academy; Caison Elliot, Fort Dale Academy; Eboni Etheridge, Greenville High School; Mary Glenn Fuller, McKenzie School; Stephen Hartley, Fort Dale Academy; Charli Hood, Fort Dale Academy; Rachel Jackson, Fort Dale Academy; Kendall Lambert, Fort Dale Academy; Joe Maxwell, Greenville High School; Skilar Moorer, Greenville High School; Paige Odom, McKenzie School; Danielle Scott, McKenzie School; Tucker Shipp, McKenzie School; Winston Sims, Greenville High School; Portia Thomas, Greenville High School; Austin Vickery, Fort Dale Academy; and Austin Weathers, McKenzie School.