Rotary Club holds annual all-star banquet

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 16, 2018

One-hundred-and-thirty-seven area high school students were recognized as academic all-stars at the Atmore Rotary Club’s 33rd annual Academic All-Star program on May 10 at Escambia County High School.

The students recognized ranged in grades ninth through 12th from Atmore Christian School, Escambia Academy, ECHS and Northview High School. Four-year academic all-stars were recognized as well. Those who are four-year All-Stars receive a $750 scholarship. Three-year All-Stars receive $350; two-year All-Stars receive $250; and one-year All-Stars receive $150.

Three ECHS seniors were named scholarship winners at the end of the program.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

ShaDiamond Harris was presented the Anna Ruth Vickery Scholarship, Kristen Gore was presented the William and Mary Grissett Memorial Scholarship and Billie McKinley was presented the Randolph B. Luttrell Sr. Memorial Scholarship.

Those who were named four-year academic all-stars include Jasmina Stahly of ACS; Jackson Breckenridge and Austin Williams of EA; Lazarrian Boykin, Terriana McNeil and Keyaira Wilson of ECHS; and Anna Belle Barberree and Tara Faith Windham of NHS.

Each year, the program includes a keynote speech. This year’s keynote speaker was Barbara Anne Spears, former executive director of academic and student affairs with the Alabama Community College system. She recently retired, but took the same job at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Fla.

Spears shared some ways she created opportunities for herself and encouraged the students to do likewise.

“Don’t wait to find an opportunity,” she said.

Spears talked about her short stint in journalism, and said she found her passion soon after after writing a letter to a college president saying she would be great for the public relations job.

She would then start a career in the community college system that spanned 26 years before retiring.

“Don’t let boundaries keep you from doing things you love,” she said.

While in the community college system, Spears helped other colleges with their accreditation process through SACS reviews.

Spears said she remembers the first day after she retired. It was April 1.

“I went home, and I was not happy,” she said.

Through Facebook, she was contacted by a friend who asked her to come work at NFSC.

Like many of the opportunities that came in her life, Spears said she took this one and ran with it.

“Don’t wait for an opportunity to be dumped in your lap,” she said. “Be observant to what is going on.”