Livingston’s perseverance wins award, scholarship from AHSAA

Published 1:41 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Billingsley High School’s Javaris Livingston has been through a lot in his early life, but his perseverance and strength has helped him overcome, and that was recognized by the AHSAA on April 15 at the 39th annual Bryant-Jordan Student Athlete Awards Banquet in Birmingham.

One hundred and four high school student athletes were recognized at the banquet, and more than $500,000 in scholarships were handed out. The Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Program is named in honor of late coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant of the University of Alabama, and Ralph “Shug” Jordan of Auburn University. Fifty-two regional scholar-athlete winners were selected for an academic award showing excellence in both academics and athletics. The other 52 athletes were selected for an achievement award, showing their ability to overcome major obstacles during their lives to excel on the athletic field.

Livingston was selected as the Class 1A Region 4 recipient of the Bryant-Jordan Student Athlete Achievement Award representing the Bears, and his long journey through heartache. The senior lost his mother in a car accident over 10 years ago when he was still a young child. The loss sparked move after move for the young boy, shifting to different houses before finding stability with his aunt and uncle in Billingsley.

Livingston said it is hard to go through each day sometimes, but he knows moving forward and to keep going are the only options, with his mother watching over him.

“In my life, I do not talk to half of my family, and it is very hard since my mom passed going through some of that stuff. Knowing I still have a lot of people that still love me and want me to succeed and carry on (is nice),” Livingston said. “She is watching over me, and I know she would be very proud of me and I know she is now. You just have to keep your faith in God and just keep going, and know she is looking down. All the stuff I have been through … I just know she is proud.”

At the banquet, Livingston took some tours of exhibits that were on display, met some prominent football players in the state of Alabama’s history and got to enjoy dinner with his support there. Livingston’s uncle, aunt and cousin, Billingsley Principal Angie McLean and Assistant Principal Janett Skinner and Billingsley head football coach Lanny Jones were among those who traveled with him to assure him that he is never alone.

“I was a little shy because I had not been around that many people, but it was very nice and unexpected because I did not know it was going to be that big,” Livingston said. “The family I had there, my principal, my football coach and it was nice of them to come. It was very nice to see that they are still with me while I am going through all of this and keep succeeding.”

While his drive is a given, Jones said he was also impressed with the way Livingston applied himself on the football field his last two seasons in the program. When Jones arrived in 2022, he could see Livingston’s athletic ability was there, but he was a raw talent on the football field. Livingston and Jones spoke often about ways to improve, and by his senior year, he ascended up the Bears’ depth chart to become a valuable player for the team.

“I knew he was athletic, and we had the conversation all the time that he just was not very good at the time,” Jones said. “To see him go through some adversity where he was not getting to play very much, and I was just realistic with him that he had to get better. He is that type of kid that came to practice each day, stayed after late and worked hard till he found himself in his senior year making a lot of big plays for us.”

Along with winning the achievement award at the banquet, Livingston was awarded a Student Achievement Regional Scholarship for $3,000 to go towards his post-graduation plans. He plans to go to school and get his CDL and diesel mechanic licenses following graduation, and he also plans to continue playing football as well.