These athletes much more than jocks

Published 10:28 pm Friday, July 17, 2009

The sports section of The Clanton Advertiser has featured many local students that are good at sports. That probably goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning because, today, the criteria are a little different.

The 12 young men and women that dominate this page are still athletes, but they’re here because of their academic accomplishments. The students, who were at the high school level during the 2008-09 academic year, were nominated by their principals, and it would be hard to argue with any of the selections after looking at their credentials.

These students have made their high school years—which aren’t even over for some of them—so productive it makes one wonder what they’ll do with the rest of their lives. So, it’s great to finally recognize them for what they do away from the football field or the basketball court.

This is the first year, to my knowledge, that we have compiled an all-academic team, but I hope we can continue it in the future. High school athletics is supposed to help produce people that are well-rounded and prepared to take on the challenges of college, entering the work force—pretty much being a successful human being. The 12 listed here are well on their way.

A concern when this idea was first discussed was that academic and athletic excellence might be mutually exclusive. You know: the star quarterback might not be the sharpest tack in the shed, or the valedictorian might be just a benchwarmer. But it turns out the opposite was the case. The student-athletes featured here excelled both in the classroom and on the playing field.

Being either a good student or a good athlete makes someone worthy of mention in the newspaper. Being both is something special.