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Annual Achiever Awards banquet scheduled for May 3

Some of Butler County’s top student-athletes will gather on May 3 for the annual Achiever Award banquet.

Tickets can be obtained at the Greenville YMCA for $20, and begins at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church.

The Achiever Award honors students who excel in sports and the classroom, and who participate widely in the community.

Two students are chosen, one male and one female, to split a $3000 scholarship.

In 2017, Georgiana’s Ezekiel Powell and Fort Dale Academy’s Madison Ann Gaston were awarded the scholarships.

The 2018 nominees are Sydney Owens, Alyssa Joyce-Ann Lear, Kaitlyn Neese, Keundra Rush, Laun Pryor, Keondre Thomas, Mya Coleman, Blake Anthony, Malik Bunch, all from Greenville High School; Lucy Bates, Damon Daniels, Sara Carlton, Christian Davis, Zack Kendrick, Jason Little, Tripp Richardson, Hannah Leann Schofield, Luke Taylor, Tucker Whiddon, all from Fort Dale Academy; Lauren Pierce, Margaret (Maggie) Brown, Dillan Sanders, Daniel Gaston, Taylor Turner, Camryn Reaves, Parker Dylan Odom, all from McKenzie High School; Je’Cary DeMorte’ Brewer, Octavia Still, Detavious Likely, Preston Hoffman, Janasia Johnson, Shelby Giddens, Daziah Rich, Courtney Powell, all from Georgiana School.

The 2018 keynote speaker is Troy University assistant football coach Brian Blackmon.

Blackmon spent 21 years at Opelika High School, including eight seasons as head coach of their football program and 13 as offensive coordinator, and departed as the third-winningest coach in school history.

He also spent a season as an offensive analyst for Gus Malzahn at Auburn University.

Blackmon won a state championship with Robert E. Lee High School in 1991 and entered the school’s Hall of Fame in 2017, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Troy in 1996 and a master’s in business education at Auburn. 

According to Chamber of Commerce director Francine Wasden, the Achiever Award is stronger than ever in its 21st year.

“This is a longstanding partnership between the Chamber and the YMCA and I think it’s one of the best programs in the state,” Wasden said.

Wasden recalled that the program began in part through the efforts of Mayor Dexter McLendon and Greenville resident Keith Taylor.

“I think we only gave out a plaque for the award then, so the program has grown a lot,” she explained.