Four Shelby County athletes named Bryant-Jordan region winners

Published 3:40 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2011

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Four high school student-athletes from Shelby County were recently named Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete program region winners.

Three student-athletes earned Achievement awards, including Oak Mountain High School senior Mark Newton, Shelby County High School senior Jonathan Pennington and Montevallo High School senior Amber Cardwell.

Newton is a member of the Oak Mountain boys’ tennis team and was named the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A, Region 5 Achievement award winner. Newton has also been a member of the boys’ basketball team at Oak Mountain.

Pennington, who was named the AHSAA Class 5A, Region 4 Achievement award winner, is a two-sport standout at Shelby County in basketball and football.

Cardwell, who was named the AHSAA Class 3A, Region 4 Achievement award winner, is a two-sport standout at Montevallo in volleyball and girls’ basketball.

One student-athlete earned a scholar athlete award.

Briarwood Christian School senior Marie Tucker, who is a two-sport standout for the Lions in girls’ basketball and girls’ soccer, was named the AHSAA Class 5A, Region 4 Scholar-Athlete award winner.

All four Shelby County award members, who were each nominated by their respective school principals, are eligible for the program’s overall Scholar-Athlete and Achievement awards, which will be announced Monday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Birmingham hotel ballroom. All 96 regional winners will be recognized and honored and the 12 class winners and the two state winners wll be announced.

The Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete program was created in 1986 by the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, in conjunction with the AHSAA. It is supervised by the Board of Directors of the Bryant-Jordan Foundation.

The objectives of the program are to recognize and honor Alabama students who have by ability and effort achieved a level of excellence in the areas of academics and athletics that is commensurate with their potential; to make aware to not only athletes but all segments of the student population that it is both important and rewarding for them to strive to be the best that they can be. The program motivates and encourages students to achieve this goal; to encourage and promote the involvement and commitment of Alabama corporations and individuals in helping improve the academic levels of all students.

The initial scholarship offered by the Bryant-Jordan program was the scholar athlete scholarship. In 1989, the Achievement Award was created. This award is designed to reward the student-athlete who achieves beyond his or her ability both academically and athletically, or who may have overcome some obstacle or hardship to achieve success.

Ninety-six scholarships are awarded annually to deserving high school seniors from schools that are AHSAA members. The program has grown from an $8,000 award program to the present, which offers more than $800,000 in college scholarships.

The Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete program celebrated its 25th anniversary last April.

Since 1986, more than 2,200 students have benefited from the program.