by Jon Fletcher
I’m very fortunate to be a member (and Director) of the Durham Sports Club. This is a social organization that usually meets twice a month for lunch and a guest speaker from the world of sports. However, every year, we have the honor of hosting the best scholar-athletes from Durham’s high schools and awarding some scholarships at a dinner banquet. I’m even more fortunate that, for the past 6 years, and 10 of the last 12 years, I’ve served as the Chairman of this spectacular event. This year, as usual, our banquet featured some unbelievably amazing students!
We ask each school’s Athletic Director to nominate one senior boy and one senior girl who has outstanding accomplishments in both academics and athletics. Then my committee decides who will receive scholarships. We invite all of the nominees and their parents to the banquet, where we have a special keynote speaker address us. It really is an amazing evening!
The students that were nominated this year were team captains; All-Conference & All-State athletes; conference, regional and state champions. One student even represented the United States in an international competition and was invited to train at the US Olympic Facility. We had students that are going to college on athletic scholarships in Field Hockey and Swimming.
Regarding academics, we had a Morehead-Cain scholarship recipient (fully-paid 4-year scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill); two students who are going to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); a student who scored 2370 out of a possible 2400 on the SAT; weighted GPAs of well over 5.0 (on a 4.0 scale), National Merit students, and the list goes on.
One of the recipients of a $1,000 scholarship taught herself “app” programming for Facebook as well as the Android and iPhone, and has authored over a half-dozen apps. She also won an international grand prize for a Cyber Security app! We also had another nominee who was a runner-up for a similar award!
Not only have these “kids” over-achieved in scholarship AND athletics, they’ve found time to tutor youngsters in subjects like Spanish and math, and they’ve volunteered at places like the Durham Rescue Mission, the Ronald McDonald House, the Special Olympics, the Denali (Alaska) National Park, Habitat for Humanity and much more, including winning the “Mayor’s Award” for volunteering more than 100 hours.
Truly these students deserve all of the accolades that they’ve received (actually, they probably deserve more). I’m sure that these folks, and other students from Durham, will go on to even greater achievements in life, and it will be fun to follow them.
The Durham Sports Club Scholar-Athlete Awards Night and the students – more of the Great Things that Happen in Durham!
If you’d like more info about the Durham Sports Club, please check out the website at www.DurhamSportsClub.com (or contact me).