Valedictorians award two Golden Apples

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From left, Trey Howrad, Anne Stansell, Connie Wheeler and Joseph Broderick. (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Several years ago, Shelby County High School’s counselor Donna Morris came up with the idea of an award for the senior class valedictorians to recognize a valued mentor who helped them in a special way to reach the top of their class. Morris called the award the Golden Apple.

Joseph Broderick, son of Penny and Cranford Blackmon (Wilsonville) and Stephen Broderick (Utah), and Trey Howard, son of Pam and Johnny Howard (Columbiana), were SCHS’s Class of 2011 valedictorians. These extraordinary young men graduated with over a 4.0 GPA with an advanced honors degree, won many honors, and thousands of dollars in scholarships.

Broderick’s honors and scholarships are numerous: president National Honor Society; vice president Beta Club; top GPA in math, science and english; Governor’s Award for Fitness; Youth Leadership Shelby County; Spirit of Auburn Founders Scholarship; American Cast Pipe Engineering Scholarship; and Army four-year ROTC scholarship. He will attend Auburn to major in engineering. Broderick’s goal is to develop new infrastructure in third world countries and share his deep faith.

Broderick awarded his Golden Apple Award to math teacher Connie Wheeler.

“Ms. Wheeler helped me realize my potential in math and my passion for engineering,” said Broderick. “She helped me develop reasoning skills to see through problems and never give up until I find a solution. Ms. Wheeler has been a huge help in my life.”

Howard is an outstanding, goal-oriented scholar athlete. As a freshman, he set his goal to earn a 4.0 GPA for four years and also to excel in athletics, specifically baseball, which he did. Howard was treasurer of the National Honor Society, a member of the Beta Club, member of the All County Baseball team, the Lion’s Club Baseball All-Star team, and represented SCHS at the Alabama Governor’s School at Samford University. He will attend UAB to major in criminal justice and computer forensic science.

Howard honored English teacher Anne Stansell with his Golden Apple.

At times, Howard’s AP class and sports load seemed overwhelming. Stansell counseled Howard to never give up.

“I’m giving this award to Mrs. Stansell because she challenged me to realize that I can do anything I put my mind to,” said Howard. “She taught me to never back down, always put forth my best effort, and there will not be anything I cannot succeed in.”

Shelby County is blessed to have these fine young men and their extraordinary teachers.

Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by email at

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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