Daniels, Whiddon win 2018 Achiever Award

Published 9:44 am Monday, May 7, 2018

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A selection of Greenville’s most accomplished, involved student-athletes gathered with family, friends, educators and business professionals at First Baptist Church Thursday night for the sold out 21st Annual Achiever Awards banquet.

The YMCA of Greenville and the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce sponsor the award with the recipients – a male and female – receiving $3,200 each in scholarship funds this year.

Rev. Chase Clower of First Baptist Church led the proceedings and Coach Brian Blackmon of Troy University was the keynote speaker.

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Each student had long lists of credits and achievements, making for stiff competition for the scholarship and plaque that accompany the honor.

Fort Dale Academy seniors Braxton Daniels and Tucker Whiddon won the scholarships. Each expressed humility and thanks to their parents, family, teachers and coaches.

“I want to thank my family and God,” Whiddon said, “it’s probably the biggest achievement of my high school career.”

Daniels echoed her sentiment.

“This room is full of wonderful and deserving nominees,” he said before thanking God, his family and educators. “I’d like to thank my parents for always having high expectations. When I was younger, I didn’t understand why my parents were so hard and everyone else’s were so easy. But now, as I became a senior and moved on college I’m grateful for it, and I hope I’ve achieved their expectations.”

Whiddon is a softball and basketball player and cheerleader for Fort Dale. She was selected as a UCA All-American cheerleader, was an AISA All-Star in basketball and was a captain on both the cheer squad and basketball team.

Whiddon was also the president of her class throughout high school, served as an Eagle rep, in the SGA, in the Key Club and ECHO. She was a Youth Tour Delegate with Pioneer Electric and a Camellia Girl for the Chamber of Commerce.

In the community, Whiddon volunteered as a Pee-Wee cheer coach, with the LBWCC Golf Tournament and at Safe Harbor. She is also a member of Southside Baptist Church, where she helps in the nursery.

Daniels lettered in football and baseball all four years of high school.

In football, he was the AISA Top 10 player of the week two times, an All-Star player and was selected as the Wendy’s High School Heisman recipient.

Academically, Daniels is ranked within the Top 5 students of his class, participates in SGA, National Honor Society, Key Club, ECHO and is an Eagle Rep.

In the community, Daniels is a Miracle League of Montgomery volunteer, does yard work for the elderly through local community missions and is a member of Southside Baptist Church where he is the lead singer in the Zone 4:12 band.

Following the banquet, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tracy Salter expressed her delight over how well the event was received.

“This year’s Achiever Award Banquet was a huge success,” she said. “More than 300 guests were in attendance as 34 student-athletes from across the county were honored at the banquet. The Achiever Award is designed to recognize the outstanding senior male and female student-athletes of Butler County that also exemplify the attributes of Christian, community and academic leadership. To be nominated for this prestigious scholarship is truly an honor, and one that every single nominee should be proud to be a part of.”

Keynote speaker Brian Blackmon recalled his Butler County roots before advising the Achievers to continuously keep a “Day 1” mentality, greeting each day and each challenge with the same enthusiasm as “the first day of practice or the first day at a new job.”

The other nominees were 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, Sara Carlton, Christian Davis, Zack Kendrick, Jason Little, Tripp Richardson, Hannah Leann Schofield, and Luke Taylor, 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.