Amazing Student-Athletes

(Originally Written in July 2014)

For the past 20 years, I have been involved with an organization called the Durham Sports Club.  It really isn’t much more than a “social” club, in that we meet twice a month for lunch and a guest speaker from the world of sports.  We have about 170 members, and I refer to it as the “biggest Club in Durham that no one has ever heard about”.   Every year, however, we have the Athletic Directors of each of Durham’s High Schools nominate one boy and one girl scholar-athlete for one of four scholarships that our Club awards.  We invite each student and their parents, as well as the Athletic Directors and Principals to a special dinner banquet where we award $3000 in scholarships.  For the past nine years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of being the Chairman of the committee that organizes the event.

My reason for writing, however, is to tell you about the great “kids” we have in Durham – from an academic standpoint, and athletic standpoint, and a community service standpoint.  Among our honorees this year, for instance, were students with GPAs over 5.0, SAT scores over 2200, All-Conference and All-State honorees in their sports, Governor’s School participants, “Team USA” participants (for lack of a better term), Morehead-Cain Scholarship nominees (4 years, all expenses to UNC), Park Scholarship nominees (4 years, all expenses to NC State University), “Advanced Placement Scholars of Distinction”, valedictorians, and more.  They’re going to schools like Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, UNC, NC State, University of Virginia, Bowdoin College, Earlham College, and other elite colleges.   Past nominees have gone to schools like MIT, Harvard, Dartmouth, NYU and Duke.

One thing that has been interesting over the years is the “attitude” of the students.  I remember a few years ago when some of the boys would wear sport shirts, or un-tucked dress shirts, or something far more casual than one would expect for a dinner banquet.  Call me old-fashioned, but I still think “proper attire” speaks volumes about people.  This year, for the first time in many, every student dressed appropriately.  Four of the boys even wore bow ties!   Regardless, the whole evening was very impressive, and I think it all reflects strongly in showing what a great city we have here in Durham.