These are the Class of 2020 graduating seniors who have been selected as Joe Sewell Award finalists. This year’s banquet, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed until Tuesday, July 21.
Established in 2005, the Joe Sewell Memorial Award recognizes high school senior athletes throughout the county who embody the highest ideals of Christian leadership. Each year, one male and one female senior from all the schools are chosen for the top honor, which includes a $3,000 scholarship. Male and female category winners are also selected for academics, athletics, leadership and church, community and character with each student receiving a $1,000 scholarship.
The Joe Sewell Memorial Award is the only program of its kind in the River Region that presents scholarship money in conjunction with awards.
Outstanding ninth-grade Christian athletes are also recognized with award certificates each year and many eventually return as senior nominees.
New Life Academy
As a three-sport athlete, it is tough enough to find some extra time in the day but New Life’s Abigail Chavers made the most of her limited time outside of athletics. She took on leadership roles in school clubs, church activities and other volunteering opportunities in the community.
Chavers played volleyball, basketball and softball for the Eagles. She was named to the Alabama Christian Athletic Association All-State teams in all three sports.
Her impact on New Life did not stop with the sports world though. She was elected as the secretary of Beta Club and she is a member of the National Honor Society.
Chavers attends the Church of the Highlands at the Montgomery Campus where she spent more of her time helping with children of the congregation. She volunteered in the children’s church and took that passion outside of the campus.
She helped at Camp Hope Alabama which is an outreach to meet the needs of children in foster care with a primary focus on siblings who are separated and older youth. Chavers also did work with the Alabama Foster Care Support to raise awareness of the need for foster care in local counties and the state.
Chavers also volunteered at the Humane Society of Elmore County. As a freshman, Chavers was named a Joe Sewell Certificate winner.
Chavers earned scholarships to Faulkner University, Huntingdon College, University of Mobile, University of Alabama at Huntsville and University of South Alabama.
She is the daughter of Brian and Sonya Chavers.
Kathryn Alexis Esco
Elmore County High School
Wherever she went, Elmore County’s Alexis Esco was certainly not ashamed to let people know about her faith and that passion drove her throughout her high school years. She was an active member with her local congregation but she did not let it stop at the church walls as she took it into her school and community.
Esco is a member of the Good Hope Baptist Church where she is active in the youth group and serves as a worship leader with the praise band. She has attended multiple mission trips and participates in community outreach projects.
In school, Esco was the chaplain of the senior class, leading prayers on campus and at Burt-Haynie Field before football games. She was also a member of First Priority at Elmore County, a club focused on uniting Christians with a plan of action to influence their classmates.
Esco was also a member of the Halo Club, Art Club and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). She was elected to student council and worked on the yearbook staff.
Her involvement in extra-curricular activities did not stop there as Esco was a two-sport athlete during her high school career. She was a member of the school’s track team, competing in the 400 and 800.
Esco was a setter on the Panther volleyball team. She helped Elmore County extend its streak to 10 consecutive area tournament titles. She also helped on the bench during basketball season, keeping stats for both varsity squads.
The next step in Esco’s future is enlisting in the Alabama Army National Guard. She has also been accepted to Alabama Community College and Auburn University at Montgomery.
She is the daughter of Glen Esco, Nicole Boothe and Lacey and Mark Shaner.
Ann Campbell Thornton
New Life Christian Academy
Sports seemed to turn into a job for New Life Christian Academy senior Ann Thornton. She was a member of the softball, baseball, volleyball and golf teams and was also a varsity cheerleader.
Thornton was also active in her church as a member of both the Highlands and New Life Church. She spent what free time she had volunteering at Camp Hope in foster care support. Camp Hope’s mission is to reunite siblings who are separated in foster homes and to provide education for the general population about the foster care system and the needs of youngsters in it.
Watts also volunteered with Haven’s Kids and HUGS Homeless Shelter.
Her biggest athletic accomplishment was winning the Alabama Christian Athletics Association state golf championship.
At New Life, she was a president of the Beta Club and was also a member of the Alpha and Omega Honor Society and she participated in Elmore County’s Distinguished Young Women program.
As she moves into the next stage of her life, Thornton has plenty of options. She has scholarship offers from Huntingdon College, Birmingham Southern College, Samford University, Faulkner University and the University of North Alabama.
She is the daughter of Heather and Steve Thornton.
Ayanna Sinclair Cole
Tallassee High School
Tallassee’s Sinclair Cole racked up the accolades during her high school career. She took on leadership roles in several of the school’s clubs and made a big impact for the Tigers on the basketball court and softball field.
Cole was a two-year starter for the basketball team and she was given the Basketball Leadership Award in her senior season. During her final two years, Cole averaged 8.6 points per game.
On the softball field, Cole was even more successful and set herself up to have a future in the sport. She played first base, third base and pitcher during her career, being in the starting lineup most of the time.
As a pitcher, Cole finished with a 27-1 record while striking out 87 batters in 166 innings. Cole was one of the best power hitters for the Tigers, smacking eight home runs in 275 at-bats through her final three seasons.
Cole showed off her softball skills outside of the school team as well, playing for the River Region Thundercats. She earned MVP honors during the team’s trip to the United States Specialty Sports Association 16U World Series, leading the Thundercats to a national title.
In school, Cole was a member of the National Honor Society and she was elected president of Mu Alpha Theta. Cole was also a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador.
Cole is a member of the Oak Grove Baptist Church where she spent time as the church secretary. She was also an active member of the congregation’s usher board and praise team.
Cole was accepted to Auburn University and the University of Alabama but she is choosing to attend Alabama A&M on a softball scholarship.
She is the daughter of Michelle and Kerry Cole.
Blakley Morgan White
Holtville High School
Blakley Morgan White put a lot of emphasis on her faith as well as volunteering throughout her high school career.
A member of New Home Baptist Church, White was a leader of the Children’s Church as well as a praise and worship leader. In 2020, she won an award after being named Elmore County Distinguished Young Woman, which is part of a national scholarship program promoting leadership and talent in young women across the United States. Cash scholarships are rewarded at both the local and state level.
White took her leadership skills on the girls soccer field for Holtville, where she was named a team captain and Bulldog Ambassador. During her final year on the pitch, White had a shining moment before the season’s end by scoring a goal in a shootout to power the Bulldogs over Elmore County. It was the Bulldogs’ final game of the season prior to the spring sports shutdown due to the coronavirus.
She’s also involved in sports outside of the school, having been trained in classical ballet and dance for 12 years.
Heavily into volunteer work, White dedicated her time to volunteering at the Adullam House, the Ronald McDonald House and the Elmore County Food Pantry.
At school, White was named the winner of the Holtville High School Science Fair and she also earned Holtville’s Izell Brown Award, which is given to the junior girl with the highest GPA.
White’s future plans are still up in the air as she has been accepted to Troy University and Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City.
She is the daughter of Robbie and Wendy White.
Brendan Michael Carney
Holtville High School
Accomplishments on the field are always good to have but they are not the only way to have an impact on a program or a school. Holtville’s Brendan Carney was not always the top option during his time with the Bulldogs’ baseball and football programs but coaches spoke highly of him as a leader and a teammate and Carney showed that from the bench, in the classroom and around the community.
Carney played varsity baseball for three years, seeing most of his time in the outfield. He had only eight plate appearances as a senior, drawing two walks and scoring one run. Carney was a part of three playoff series wins during his time with the Bulldogs. He was given the Baseball Academic Award.
In just one season on the football field, Carney played wide receiver. He was also a member of the band through his senior year.
Carney was a member of the Spanish Club and the Beta Club. He was also named to the Senior Honor Court.
Outside of school, Carney spends much of his time volunteering around the community. He did mission trips with Youth Works, helped out at the Elmore County Food Pantry and spent time with residents at the Adullam House, a rescue home for at-risk children.
Carney also volunteered at Audobon Acres and was a member of the National Retail Federation.
Carney is a member at New Home Missionary Baptist Church and was active in the congregation’s youth group.
Carney earned scholarship opportunities at Troy University, Auburn University at Montgomery and University of Alabama.
He is the son of Dan and Kristy Carney.
Wetumpka High School
After four years at Wetumpka, Christian Chappelle has certainly left his mark on the high school and community. Between school clubs and his time at church, Chappelle did not have much time to himself but he still stayed on top of his school work and chose to be a part of Wetumpka’s tennis program.
Chappelle spent three years at the varsity level on the tennis court. He helped Wetumpka to a 23-6 record in the regular season across that span and he helped the team secure a second-place finish in the Class 6A Section 2 tournament in 2019 to send Wetumpka to the state tournament.
In school, Chappelle was a member of several groups and spent much of his time working with each of them. For his academics, he was a part of the Beta Club and the National Honor Society plus he was a member of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), a group that prepares emerging leaders in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.
Chappelle was also proud of his faith and he took that inside the school walls where he participated in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was a member of First Priority, a group dedicated to building Christian relationships on and off campus.
Chappelle was an active member of First Baptist Church Wetumpka where he attended several church conferences with the youth group. He also helped the congregation give back with service projects including multiple mission trips.
Around the community, Chappelle volunteered with the Paint the Park for Jody annual run.
Chappelle earned a scholarship to Auburn University at Montgomery.
He is the son of Shannon Chappelle.
Stanhope Elmore High School
Stanhope Elmore’s Conner Bradford stayed active everywhere he went from the football field to the church stage to the classroom. He became a leader in several different circles of his life and he did it by example.
Bradford participated in basketball and track and field during his high school career but he stuck with football through his senior year. Bradford became a major weapon in the Mustangs’ offense and he was named to the all-Elmore County team as a wide receiver in his final season.
During his senior season, Bradford was named one of the team captains and finished with 516 yards and 10 touchdowns on 34 receptions in a run-heavy offense, helping Stanhope Elmore to its winningest season since 2010. Bradford scored his first postseason touchdown in a win over Paul Bryant, giving his dad, Stanhope Elmore coach Brian Bradford, his first playoff victory.
Due to his accomplishments on the field, Bradford was invited and played in the Blue-Grey All-Star Game in Atlanta after the high school season.
During his limited time off the field, Bradford stayed active in the Coosada Baptist Church where he volunteered for Children’s Church and was a Sunday school teacher. Bradford also participated in the Disciple Now retreat.
Bradford combined those two passions and was named president of the Stanhope Elmore chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was also a member of the Beta Club, the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta.
Bradford obtained scholarships to Samford University, Troy University, Huntingdon College, Millsaps College and Centre College. Bradford is committed to attend school and play football at the next level at Huntingdon in the fall.
He is the son of Brian Bradford and Nicole Hunter.
Elmore County High School
After being named a Joe Sewell Certificate winner as a freshman, Watts has kept up her athletic, academic and civic service careers.
A three-sport athlete for the Panthers, Watts was a member of the volleyball, girls basketball and softball teams throughout her high school career. During her senior season on the diamond, Watts finished with 13 hits, including two doubles and a triple. She had 13 RBIs and scored eight runs of her own. She struck out only six times in 54 plate appearances and had a 1.000 fielding percentage.
Watts was also part of the volleyball team that won its 10th straight area championship in 2019 and was named a Softball All-Metro selection during her time with the Panthers.
At Catalyst Community Church, Watts was a part of the youth group and she spent her time volunteering at the Humane Society of Elmore County, the Elmore County Food Pantry and the Family Sunshine Center. She took part in Alabama Girls State, which is a weeklong conference for some of the top students across the state. The conference is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary and is a premier youth leadership program.
She was a member of Elmore County Maroon Machine and a part of the A+ Voice Advocacy team, which helps students to find a voice in public policy. Watts also represented Elmore County at the AHSAA Student Leadership Council and was yearbook editor.
Currently, Watts has scholarships to Oglethorpe University, Berry College, Springhill College, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Montevallo.
She is the daughter of Todd and Catherine Watts.
Elizabeth Amelia McTier
Wetumpka High School
Wetumpka’s Elizabeth McTier spent most of her time in high school as a leader and mentor to those around her. From school clubs to athletics to the church, people looked up to McTier and she delivered.
McTier spent four years as a varsity cheerleader for Wetumpka, cheering on the Indians’ football and basketball teams. She was named squad captain for her senior year and she finished as a three-time All-American by the Universal Cheerleading Association.
The athletics did not stop there as McTier spent her springs with the school’s track and field program. She ran the 400-meter dash and competed in the discus, javelin and shot put.
McTier took her love for sports into another passion of hers as she volunteered time to help local students with mental and physical disabilities at the Ability Games at the Wetumpka Sports Complex.
Volunteering took up plenty of McTier’s time as she also helped out at St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Elmore County Food Pantry.
In school, McTier was a costume designer with the theatre guild and a member of the Wetumpka Tribal Council.
McTier took time to compete in local pageants as well where she was named first runner-up in the Miss Warrior pageant and in the Miss Christmas on the Coosa.
McTier is a member of the Greenwood Missionary Baptist Church. She is an active member in the youth group and she serves on the church event planning and usher board. Plus she volunteers as a children’s teacher.
McTier has a scholarship to Tuskegee University.
She is the daughter of James and Cynthia McTier.
Isaac Walter Stubbs
Wetumpka High School
A school record holder in cross country, Isaac Stubbs has been a team captain for the Wetumpka team and is also a member of the track and field squad. His athletic accomplishments also took him to new heights as he was recently named the Class 6A Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete winner. Moreover, Stubbs represented Elmore County as an AHSAA state representative.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Stubbs has been a part of the youth group as well as the early morning seminary program. He has also participated in mission trips. He takes his faith with him as he is a volunteer pianist for local churches as well as at Wetumpka Elementary School.
Stubbs was the school’s Beta Club president and he was a U.S. Presidential Scholarship nominee. The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established to recognize the top graduating seniors and also extended in 1979 to honor students in the visual, creative and performing arts. Stubbs participated in the Alabama Boys State conference and won the Outstanding Lobbyist award during his time with the youth legislature.
He is an Eagle Scout and Government Club founder and president. Stubbs has also been a Regional Scientist Olympiad Medalist. Science Olympiad is a premier science competition which puts students across the nation through rigorous challenges.
Stubbs’ academic future looks exceptionally bright as he is awaiting decisions from Harvard University, Princeton University, Duke University, Vanderbilt University and Brigham Young University.
He is the son of Troy and Jenny Stubbs.
Holtville High School
Holtville’s Jackson Hand was all about assisting others during his high school career. He was the main distributor for the Bulldogs on the basketball court and soccer pitch while spending much of his time outside of athletics serving others in the community.
In basketball, Hand was a two-year starter at point guard. He was a team captain for the Bulldogs and he led the team with 4.3 assists per game in his senior season. Hand averaged 8.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals in his final year on the court.
Hand regularly racked up the assists for the soccer team as well, finishing his career with seven assists. During his four years on varsity, Hand played in 52 matches and scored five goals. He started for his final two seasons and he was named a team captain during his senior year.
His assistance extended well outside the playing field as Hand volunteered time at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Adullam House and Operation Christmas Child. Hand also spent time working at the Elmore County Food Pantry and Humane Society of Elmore County plus he put in time helping with tornado relief.
In school, Hand was president of the Spanish Club. He was a Bulldog Ambassador and a member of DECA and Mu Alpha Theta. He also participated in the Elmore County Youth Leadership conference.
Hand is a member of the Wallsboro United Methodist Church.
Hand has been accepted to Auburn University, University of Alabama and Troy University.
He is the son of Cheryl and Donnie Hand.
Wetumpka High School
When the first-ever North-South tennis match was announced, Wetumpka’s James Teel knew he was going to be part of something special. Announced by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, Teel earned a spot on the South team in the inaugural event.
The honor was well-deserved as Teel was a huge part of the Indians tennis squad, serving as a team captain for four years. He was also named to the all-metro team during one of those seasons.
As a freshman, Teel was also named a ninth-grade Joe Sewell Certificate winner and he has kept up that standard since then.
A member of First Baptist Church Wetumpka, Teel is involved with his youth group and does community service for the church as well.
At Wetumpka, he is a member of the Beta Club and the National Honor Society. He also attended the Alabama Boys State conference, which is one of the highest honors for students across the state. It is a weeklong program dedicated to those who demonstrate leadership, strong character and motivation in both the school setting and throughout their communities.
Teel has been a part of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Club, the government club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and student council. He is a Tribal Council Ambassador and was the first priority vice president for the student government.
He was awarded the Spirit of Auburn Founders Scholarship, which is based on academic achievement in both standardized test scores and high school GPA.
Teel is the son of Bart and Denise Teel.
Kaitlyn Michelle Roberts
By the time her high school career was over, Edgewood’s Katie Roberts made becoming a champion look easy. She helped the Wildcats rack up the trophies on the court while gaining plenty of accolades for herself as an athlete to go along with her success in the classroom.
While playing as a middle hitter for the volleyball team, Roberts helped the Wildcats to three AISA state titles, including one in her senior season where she was named to the all-tournament team. She finished the 2019 season with 140 kills, 57 blocks and 53 aces on her way to earning the AISA Volleyball Player of the Year.
Roberts also competed as a cheerleader for Edgewood. She was on the varsity squad when the Wildcats won the AISA State Cheerleading Championships and she was named a Universal Cheerleading Association All-American.
She kept those winning ways going in school as she was elected president of the senior class. As a freshman, Roberts was among the winners of a Joe Sewell Certificate.
Outside of school, Roberts stayed active as a volunteer in the community and a member of the church. Roberts helped out at the Elmore County Food Pantry, the Montgomery Cancer Center, the Millbrook Senior Center and Salvation Army.
Roberts is a member of CenterPoint Fellowship Church where she dedicates her time to working with children’s ministries including helping with the congregation’s Vacation Bible School.
Roberts was awarded the Presidential Scholarship from the University of Alabama, earning full tuition after meeting the requirements of having a 30-36 on the ACT and a GPA of at least 3.5. She also won $500 in scholarship money from the Wetumpka Rotary Club for placing second in the annual speech competition.
She is the daughter of Holly Christian and Brian Roberts.
Kalynn Elizabeth McElrath
Stanhope Elmore High School
As a freshman, Stanhope Elmore’s Kalynn McElrath was awarded as a Joe Sewell Certificate winner and that was just the start to her busy and successful high school career. McElrath was a part of numerous clubs and organizations at the school but she also dedicated much of her time to giving back in the community.
McElrath was a member of the Beta Club and she was in Junior Civitan. She kept plenty of focus on her academics as well, helping her gain membership to Mu Alpha Theta, which is a mathematics honor society for high school and two-year college students, and the National Honor Society. She was also an Alabama Girls State attendant.
McElrath was a student-athlete, spending time outside of the classroom as a varsity cheerleader for the Mustangs. After spending her career leading students and fans on the sidelines of football and basketball games, she was named a Universal Cheerleaders Association All-American and she was a qualifier for the National Cheerleading Championship.
Outside of school, McElrath stayed busy by helping those in need. She volunteered time at the Elmore County Food Pantry and as a Salvation Army bell ringer.
McElrath also helped with the Montgomery Miracle League, a baseball league committed to giving people with mental and physical disabilities a place to play the sport with others.
McElrath is a member of the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church. She volunteered with the congregation’s hospitality team and performed with the choir and praise dance ministries.
McElrath has a scholarship to the University of Alabama.
She is the daughter of Temeyra and Frederick McElrath.
Kayla Grace Clements
Elmore County High School
It was a rare sight to see Elmore County’s Grace Clements not working with one program or another during her high school career. She spent five years with the varsity softball team and took on several leadership roles with school clubs or community services.
During her time on the softball field, most of her playing time came the plate as one of the team’s top catchers. She played in 12 games in her senior season often being replaced in the batting order but that did not stop her from making an impact.
Clements threw out seven runners attempting to steal a base against her in 72 innings as a junior and senior. She helped the Panthers get off to a 16-3 start, reaching No. 1 in Class 4A in the Alabama Sports Writers Association rankings for the first time in program history.
When she wasn’t on the field, Clements interned with the school’s athletic training program.
Around the school, Clements was elected president of First Priority, chaplain of the Key Club and to the Beta Club executive board. She was also a member of the National English Honor Society.
Clements spent a lot of her time outside of the school with the fire department where she became a volunteer firefighter with multiple certifications. She has four years of active duty already.
Clements earned the Dean’s Award Scholarship from Faulkner University for having a 20-22 on the ACT. She also received the Auburn University at Montgomery Recognition Scholarship for having at least a 20 on the ACT and at least a 3.5 GPA.
She is the daughter of Jennifer and Kent Clements.
Laurel Avery Bacon
Stanhope Elmore High School
It has always been clear Stanhope Elmore’s Laurel Avery Bacon was meant to perform and she has shown that ability at every turn from her time in school to volunteering in the community.
Bacon was a varsity cheerleader for three years with the Mustangs and was named a Universal Cheerleaders Association All-American plus she was a qualifier for the National Cheerleading Championship. While in school, she continued to thrive on stage as a member of the show choir and the drama cast.
During her time as a Mustang, Bacon was a member of Mu Alpha Theta, which is a mathematics honor society for high school and two-year college students; a member of the National Honor Society and part of the school’s Recycling Club. She also served on Youth Leadership Elmore County.
Outside of school activities, Bacon was a member of the Millbrook First United Methodist Church where she participated in the praise and worship team. Bacon also spent time in her congregation volunteering in the nursery and helping with Children’s Church, Vacation Bible School, Christ Community Café and several other community service projects.
Bacon also volunteers at the Humane Society of Elmore County and she is a member of Junior Civitan. She took her talents on the stage to perform with the Millbrook Players as well.
She was named the president of the Baptist Health Exploring Program, which provides students who have an interest in healthcare careers an opportunity to expand their knowledge through simulations, projects and discussions.
There are options on the table for Bacon as she prepares for the next step after high school. Bacon received scholarships to Auburn University and Samford University. Bacon will be attending Auburn and plans to study pharmacology.
She is the daughter of Will and Leigh Bacon.
Lindan Emma Winslow Oliver
Tallassee High School
It is hard not to think about 3-point shots when Tallassee’s Lindan Oliver comes to mind but her impact on the school and community goes well beyond the basketball court. She was a three-sport athlete and she still dedicated time outside of school to the church and others around the city.
Oliver did get to show off many her skills when in uniform for the Tigers. The Tallassee girls basketball team was not always known for winning but anyone in attendance was just waiting for Oliver to put up some shots.
In the Tigers’ preseason Midday Madness event prior to her senior season, Oliver defeated players from the girls and boys teams to win the school’s 3-point competition. She finished with 9.2 points per game in her final two seasons, averaging more than one 3-point make per contest.
Between basketball seasons, Oliver stayed hard at work with the Tallassee track and cross country teams. During track season, she competed individually in the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 races and she was also a member of the 4x800 relay team where she helped the Tigers qualify for the AHSAA state meet.
In school, Oliver dedicated time to her academics as well. She was a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She was also selected as a Tallassee Chamber Ambassador.
Oliver volunteers more of her time to help out with the Tallassee Elementary after-school program.
Oliver is a member of the First Baptist Church of Tallassee where she is an active member of the youth group. She volunteers with the congregation’s nursery as well as the local Vacation Bible School and food pantry.
Oliver has received scholarships to University of Alabama, Auburn University, Troy University and Faulkner University.
She is the daughter of Tim and Staci Oliver.
Lucas Clay Sisson
If there was a program or event happening anywhere near Edgewood’s Luke Sisson, there was a good chance he could be found in the middle of it. Sisson stayed active every chance he got during his high school career whether it was on the baseball field, in a fishing boat or helping out in the community.
Sisson was a three-year starter in baseball for the Wildcats where he quickly became one of the team’s most productive hitters. He finished his career with a .344 batting average after leading the team in that category his final two years.
Before his final season was cut short, Sisson was hitting .556 in the team’s first 10 games, helping him earn MVP honors in the Elmore County Baseball Superlatives. He was also named all-Elmore County as a junior.
Due to his academic success at Edgewood, Sisson was a member of the National Honor Society. He was also a member of the Fishing Club and Chess Club.
Outside of school, Sisson spent plenty of time trying to give back whenever he had the opportunity. He helped with tornado relief work in January 2019. Sisson also volunteered with the EAT South Community Garden and the Montgomery Zoo, specifically during its annual ZooBoo night, a Halloween-themed event.
Sisson is a member of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church. He participated in service projects with the congregation including a mission trip to Mexico.
Sisson had several baseball and academic offers on the table including Penn State University, Rust College, Mississippi University for Women and University of South Alabama. However, Sisson has chosen Lurleen B. Wallace Community College as his next step, committing to play baseball.
He is the son of Leslie and Gene Sisson.
Matthew Bobby Baker
Tallassee High School
Tallassee’s Bobby Baker showed his character and his work ethic in everything he did and it was easy for those around him to take notice. Baker was a two-year starter on both the baseball team and the football team while staying active in the community, helping wherever he was needed.
Baker made plenty of noise for the Tigers with his athletic ability. He started in left field for Tallassee, earning honorable mention Gold Glove honors in the 2020 Elmore County Baseball Superlatives for posting a perfect fielding percentage during his shortened senior season.
Baker also did plenty of damage with his bat, leading the Tigers with a .432 batting average across the last two seasons. He earned all-metro and all-county honors as a junior.
On the football field, Baker started at defensive back for two years and saw plenty of playing time during his three years. He helped the Tigers to 21 victories over that span. Baker was given the team’s Brandon Burlsworth Character Award.
Outside of the high school, Baker was a member of the East Tallassee United Methodist Church. He stayed active in the congregation and youth group, volunteering with Vacation Bible School and at the River’s Edge Flea Market. Baker also does yardwork for the elderly in the community.
Baker has received a scholarship to attend Auburn University at Montgomery.
He is the son of Melanie and Mark Baker.
New Life Christian Academy
Both a football player and a golfer for New Life Christian Academy, Matthew Thomas represented the school extremely well when he was a member of the Alabama Christian Athletics Association state championship-winning golf team. Outside of school, Thomas is also heavily involved in athletics as he’s been with Chang’s Taekwondo for five years and is a second-degree Black Belt.
In addition to his time spent on the field, Thomas also volunteers at his church, New Life Church. He volunteers with the toddler class, is an audio visual operator and does other community service. He is also a member of the worship team.
Thomas has had a poem published in “Poets of Faith and Inspiration” and is also a Heart of A Champion award recipient.
This isn’t the first time Thomas has been nominated for a Joe Sewell Award as he was a ninth-grade Joe Sewell Certificate winner as well.
As far as his future plans, Thomas has options as he has received scholarships from Mississippi State University and Auburn University. Specifically, he earned the Auburn University Architectural Camp Scholarship, the winner of which is selected through an application process.
He is the son of Steve and Linda Thomas.
Miles Eugene Broom
Holtville High School
Everything changed for Holtville’s Miles Broom on Easter Sunday of his sophomore year. A crash on a four-wheeler resulted in a near-death experience for Broom but he persevered and made sure to make his mark at his high school and in his community.
Broom was a three-sport athlete during his high school career, competing in football, wrestling and soccer. He stuck with soccer even after the injuries he sustained in the accident and he quickly got back to his old self to take on a major role with the Bulldogs.
In his final two seasons, Broom scored 11 goals and racked up 23 assists while helping Holtville to 15 wins on the pitch. He was named team captain for his senior season.
In school, Broom was a Bulldog Ambassador and he was elected as treasurer of the senior class and student government association. He was also an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Mu Alpha Theta, which is a mathematics honor society for high school and two-year college students.
Outside of the high school, Broom stays active in his community. He is a member of Cain’s Chapel United Methodist Church where he participates in the youth worship and praise team.
Broom volunteers at the Elmore County Food Pantry and the Humane Society of Elmore County. He was also a chaplain for his Boy Scouts of America chapter.
As a freshman, Broom was named as one of the Joe Sewell Certificate winners.
Broom has several options to choose from for his future schooling. He earned scholarships to Troy University, Birmingham Southern, Auburn University at Montgomery, Jacksonville State University and Faulkner University.
He is the son of Robby and Jeannie Broom.
Natalie Jewel Davis
Tallassee High School
Tallassee’s Natalie Davis tried to find every possible way to help others during her high school career. She made an impact on plenty of programs inside the school but she also took that passion out into the community and it resonated with those around her.
During her time at Tallassee, Davis served in the Peer Mentor program. She was also a library aide and a tutor for students at the elementary school.
Davis was a member of Mu Alpha Theta and she was a Tallassee Chamber Ambassador. She served as president of Tallassee’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter.
Prior to her senior year, Potential Magazine, a statewide publication celebrating teens and the opportunities for them to enjoy their high school experience, did a spotlight article on Davis for her work around the school. Davis was an Alabama Girls State attendee and she was a Joe Sewell Certificate winner as a freshman.
Davis was also an athlete, playing varsity softball for her final two seasons. She helped the Tigers to 59 wins across her two years and in her senior year, Tallassee reached No. 1 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association rankings for the first time in program history.
Davis is an active member with the First Baptist Church in Tallassee. She was a volunteer leader for youth Sunday School and she also spent time helping with the nursery.
Davis has several options to extend her education as she has been accepted to Auburn University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Auburn University at Montgomery, University of Alabama, Troy University and the University of South Alabama.
She is the daughter of Brad and Catherine Davis.
Robert Cheston Stewart
Sports has taken up a big portion of Robert Stewart’s time at Edgewood Academy as he participates in and excels in basketball, football, track and field, soccer and cross country. As a junior, Stewart was part of the state championship basketball team and he was named an All-County First Team member by The Wetumpka Herald. During that season, he averaged 11.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
Earlier that same year, Stewart earned a spot as a first-team kicker after making seven of 10 field goals and 45 of 49 extra-point attempts.
He was a team captain in all sports and received all-state recognition in multiples, mostly recently he was an honorable mention on the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s AISA team.
After being named a ninth-grade Joe Sewell Certificate winner, Stewart has continued to put his volunteer work first. A member of the Reformation Baptist Church, he has taken a mission trip to Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters, which is a Gospel-drive camp in Andrews, North Carolina.
Stewart has spent time volunteering for the Elmore County Food Pantry as well as dedicating time to the field of dreams and the tornado relief.
He competed at the Math Scholars’ Bowl and is also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a YMCA volunteer coach.
Stewart has multiple scholarship offers to the University of Mobile, Faulkner University, Spring Hill College, Avenue Maria University and Central Methodist University.
He is the son of Susan Rae Lambert Melghem and Chet Stewart.
Sydney Elaine Brown
It’s hard to find a place at Edgewood where Sydney Brown did not make an impact during her high school career. After being named one of the winners of the Joe Sewell Certificate as a freshman, Brown went on to participate in many extra-curricular activities with the Wildcats.
One of her biggest lasting impacts may be what she did on the volleyball court, helping Edgewood to a bit of redemption in her final season. Brown, who was a team captain, recorded 19 kills in the state championship match as the Wildcats erased a two-set deficit to win the AISA-AA title, the third during Brown’s varsity career.
Brown finished her senior season with 143 kills and 15 blocks. She was named all-county and all-metro for the season.
Outside of the volleyball court, Brown was a member of First Priority, Beta Club, National Honor Society, Drama Club and Spanish Club. Her classmates selected her as the Most Likely to Brighten Your Day.
Brown was also an active member of the Blue Ridge Baptist Church. She volunteered as a teacher for Vacation Bible School and stayed active with different service projects.
Volunteering did not stop at the church doors as Brown participated in mission trips and volunteered time at the Montgomery Cancer Center. Brown also spent time as a Salvation Army bell ringer.
Brown had options for her next step with scholarship opportunities at the University of Alabama and UAB but she has chosen to further her education at Troy University where she earned the Chancellor’s Scholarship for having a 26-29 on the ACT and at least a 3.5 GPA. Brown plans to major in psychology.
She is the daughter of Amy and David Brown.
Taylor Chase Atkinson
Elmore County High School
After winning the Joe Sewell Certificate in 2017 as a ninth-grader, Elmore County’s Taylor Chase Atkinson kept rising to his potential, staying active in the Eclectic community and with several extracurricular activities as a Panther.
During his high school career, Atkinson played football, starting on the offensive and defensive lines as a senior. He was a member of the wrestling team, finishing his final season with a 5-7 record as the team’s heavyweight and helping the Panthers to their first ever region duals title. Atkinson competed with the track and field team, participating in javelin, shot put and discus.
His athletics did not end there though as he was a volunteer with the Eclectic Youth Football League. Atkinson also volunteered time with An Eclectic Christmas ministry and in the Alabama House of Representatives Page Program.
Atkinson is also an active member at the Santuck Baptist Church and also took part in a Disciple Now retreat. He helped with the annual fall festival and is also a member of the community chorus.
Atkinson clearly excelled at both sides of being a student-athlete as he was on the Beta Club Executive Board for the high school; a member of Mu Alpha Theta, which is a mathematics honor society for high school and two-year college students; and a member of the English Honor Society all while being a three-sport athlete.
Already with plenty of options at the collegiate level, Atkinson has received the University of Alabama Presidential Scholarship which covers full tuition and is awarded to in-state students for receiving a 30-36 on the ACT plus having a 3.5 or higher GPA. For his test scores and grades, Atkinson also received the The Spirit of Auburn Founders Scholarship and the Troy University Scholars Award.
He is the son of Greg and Jan Atkinson.
Stanhope Elmore High School
Despite being a three-sport athlete, Stanhope Elmore’s Tyler Wilson still remained heavily involved in extracurricular activities, especially at his church.
A member of the Coosada Baptist Church, Wilson volunteers during Wednesday church night, Vacation Bible School and Disciple Now, a faith-based retreat. He is also a member of the church band and choir.
At school, Wilson is a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society. He is part of the Future Business Leaders Club, the Spanish Club and the Future Farmers of America.
Wilson has been the Fellowship of Christian Athletes vice president at Stanhope Elmore and during his athletic career, he played basketball, football and soccer for the Mustangs. He moved from tight end to starting receiver for the football team before his senior year. As a senior, Wilson caught a touchdown pass in a 24-0 victory over Selma in 2019 and he caught a 25-yard score in a 28-0 defeat of Greenville to end the regular season on a high note.
He was named a team captain and won the squad’s scholar-athlete award.
After being named a ninth-grade Joe Sewell certificate winner, Wilson took his faith into the school where he established a prayer locker at Stanhope Elmore.
His future plans are already in place as he has several scholarships to attend Auburn University and major in chemical engineering.
He is the son of Mark and Michele Wilson.