The banquet was held to recognize 96 regional honorees. Approximately $800,000 in scholarships was awarded.
Childers was named the state’s overall Scholar-Athlete Award winner, while Fluker was the state’s overall Achievement Award winner.
The program recognized 48 regional scholar-athlete winners, selected for their excellence in athletics and academics, and 48 achievement winners, chosen for their ability to overcome major obstacles during their high school careers.
Cedar Bluff High School’s Jim Nelson and Kai Wen, along with Cherokee County High School’s Susan Chesnut, were also among the honorees. Nelson and Chesnut were named region scholar-athlete award winners. Wen was named as a region achievement award winner.
The student athlete program is named in honor of the late coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant of Alabama and Ralph “Shug” Jordan of Auburn. The overall scholar athlete award is named for Larry D. Striplin Jr., who founded the scholarship program that annually recognizes the state’s outstanding senior student athletes.
It was announced that the overall Student Achievement Award will be named the Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Achievement Award in honor of retiring Executive Director Dr. Kennith S. Blankenship and his wife, Betty Joy Blankenship, who served as the Executive Assistant.
The awards to the overall winner and the six class winners in each award category were presented at the banquet sponsored by the Bryant-Jordan Foundation in conjunction with the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama High School Athletic Association. All of the scholarships awarded may be used at the school of each recipient’s choice.
In both award categories, each of eight region winners per class received a $2,500 scholarship. The overall winner in each class received an additional $3,000 scholarship.
From that select group in each category came the overall winner, who received an additional $3,000 scholarship.
Childers, who also captured the Class 3A Scholar-Athlete Award, is ranked first in his senior class of 72 with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. He was also a four-sport standout at Piedmont playing football, baseball, basketball and track. The quarterback led the Bulldogs (13-2) to the 3A state football championship with a 35-28 victory against Cordova in overtime, earning MVP honors in the Super 6 finals.
Childers served as captain of the football and baseball teams. He has the highest academic average for is school in Advanced American History, English and math and is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club, received the U.S. Achievement Academy Award in 2009 and President’s Education Award in 2009.
Fluker, the Class 6A achievement winner, was a standout lineman for Foley High School’s football team. He and his mother, two brothers and two sisters were displaced from their home in New Orleans where they lost almost all of their personal belongings during Hurricane Katrina.
They started over in Alabama despite the difficult financial and emotional hardship and faced even more difficulty when the FEMA home they lived in burned. Leon’s positive attitude won the admiration and respect of his teammates, fellow students, teachers, coaches and administrators as he continued to work hard as a student, maintaining a 3.78 GPA while also becoming an outstanding football leader.
More on Childers, as well as the other area scholarship winners, will be coming in the April 14 edition of The Cherokee Herald.