Students win awards, laptops

Published 11:30 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dozens of students were awarded and recognized for good attendance, outstanding conduct and community service work Thursday night at the Inspirational Achievers Awards banquet.

The award program was started by former Selma Mayor George Evans in 2012 and continued with a banquet at the Selma Convention Center. A total of 33 students were recognized and several from each age group were big winners and took home tablets and laptops.

“Being a former educator for 35 years, I found that a lot of kids that aren’t valedictorians or salutatorians per se, they still achieve in spite of the fact that they aren’t a val or sal,” Evans said. “They do community service, they have good attendance and they have good conduct and they have the kind of conduct the school would recommend needs to be recognized. This is just a way of recognizing children that aren’t recognized otherwise.”

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There were two overall winners from third to fifth grade, two from sixth to eighth grade and one from ninth to eleventh grade. Each of the grade winners won a tablet and received an award. Three seniors also won $1,000 in scholarship money and laptops.

Kenneth Grimes Jr. from Selma High School was one of the senior winners. He plans to attend Alabama A&M University and double major in political science and business management.

“I’m excited to win it. It’s a big contribution to my college fund,” Grimes said. “I’m very blessed to have gotten his.”

Ryan Snell, another senior at Selma High, also received scholarship money and a laptop. Snell’s father passed away when he was in seventh grade, so he’s had to overcome some hardships in his life. He plans to attend the University of Alabama.

“I had to look up to my mother and there was a lot of things I had to learn on my own, but I don’t like to use it as an excuse,” Snell said. “I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me just because of where I come from and what I’ve been through.”

Snell said he plans to study mechanical engineering.

“The sky is the limit,” Snell said. “One day I want to run my own engineering firm. I have a lot ahead of me, but I’m ready.”

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton was the guest speaker for the banquet. He encouraged each winner to work to achieve their dreams and not to be afraid.

“Don’t be afraid to lurch out in the deep,” Melton said. “So many of us stand in the shallow waters of life when the real action takes place in the deep waters of life. You’ve got to risk drowning sometimes if you’re going to be great.”

The third-fifth grade finalists were Jayden Acoff, Keuna Richardson, Anto’nia Tolbert and Sydney Pritchett from Cedar Park Elementary School; Shayonie Powell and Xavier Roberts from Knox Elementary School; Ayron Rucker and Maha Ajmojadid from Meadowview Elementary School; Nicole Hollaway, Javion Miree, McKayla Crittenden and Martrevius Fuller from Clark Elementary; Alonaiahrose Jones and Ricteria Parker from Edgewood Elementary School; Austin Reeves and Alissia Watts from Payne Elementary School and Sophia P. Kingston’s La’Terica Maull and Diante Thomas.

The sixth-eighth grade finalists were Tremiah Gordon, Daysha Smith, Jaylen Sellers and Walteria Curtis from School of Discovery and Emily Smith, D’Andre Washington and Krysten Bethel from R.B. Hudson Middle School.

The ninth-eleventh grade finalists were Bryant Gordon and Amber Williams from Selma High School. The senior finalists were Tre’Von Smart, Jada Armstrong, Snell, Grimes Jr., Renari Wells and Shalonzia Tubbs from Selma High.

The overall winners were Gordon, Reeves, Jones, Curtis, Gordon, Snell, Armstrong and Grimes Jr.