2018 Student of the Year

2018 Shoals Scholar Dollars Student of the Year



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Trevor Simpson wins Student of the Year honor

  • By Lisa Singleton-Rickman Staff Writer

FLORENCE — Trevor Simpson took a few seconds to compose himself before he ever said a word after taking the podium Thursday night having just learned he is this year's Shoals Scholar Dollars Student of the Year.

The banquet honoring Simpson, of Florence High School, and his 16 counterparts from other Shoals area high schools was a packed house at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center.

"First of all, without God I wouldn't even be here right now," he said. "I will, without a doubt, now be able to attend college and will be that much closer to realizing my dreams of becoming a physician."

Simpson will attend Northwest-Shoals Community College for two years and then the University of North Alabama. 

As this year's winner he not only receives scholarships to the two schools, but $1,000 in cash, a prize package from local businesses and a one-night stay at the Marriott Shoals Hotel and spa with dinner for two.

Deborah Bell Paseur, the chairwoman of the Shoals Scholar Dollars committee, commended the student finalists for their contributions to the program.

"I hope you all realize what a huge role your contributions to this program plays for other students at your schools who'll be getting these scholarships," she said.

The program partnered with the University of North Alabama in 2016 for a transfer scholarship for students who receive a full Pell Grant and wish to transfer to UNA.

Beginning this fall, those students will receive a $500 transfer scholarship from UNA and Shoals Scholar Dollars will match that per semester to help these students finish their four-year degree.

Shoals Scholar Dollars receives all scholarship funding through fundraisers in the local area.

The finalists themselves raised a cumulative total of $3,000 for the the scholarship fund.

Shoals Scholar Dollars Executive Director Randy Pettus said the program is unique in that it allows any student who meets the criteria and wants to earn a college degree toward productive citizenry to get a scholarship award.

Simpson said he realized he was among some of the most outstanding students in the Shoals with his nomination for the award.

    "Just knowing how deserving every one of them is makes me that much more grateful," he said. "This achievement definitely shows me that all the hard work has paid off."

    Kara Nix named 2017 Shoals Scholar Dollars Student of the Year

    By Lisa Singleton-Rickman, Times Daily Staff Writer

    FLORENCE -- Muscle Shoals High School senior Kara Nix is this year's Shoals Scholar Dollars Student of the Year.

    Nix, along with 16 other area high school Student of the Year representatives were honored during the Shoals Scholar Dollars banquet Thursday night.

    As this year's winner, Nix received a two-year scholarship to Northwest-Shoals Community College, to be followed by a two-year scholarship to the University of North Alabama.

    In addition, Nix's prize package includes a two-year lease from Shoals University Chevrolet-GMC on a 2017 Chevrolet Cruze and she will be the spokesperson for Shoals Scholar Dollars for the year. She also won a stay at the Shoals Marriott Hotel and Spa and dinner for two at the 360 Grille.

    Voice breaking with emotion, Nix praised the field of finalists saying, "all these students are so equally deserving."

    "The Lord has blessed me beyond belief and I have accomplished nothing on my own," she said. "I have always been told that one thing doesn't define you--not one success or one defeat."

    Nix will attend the University of North Alabama in the fall, with the ultimate goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist. 

    The Shoals Scholar Dollars organization began in 2010 with the goal of raising money for students who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to attend college.

    Executive director Randy Pettus said the Scholar Dollars Student of the Year event is a fundraiser where the finalists themselves give back by conducting their own school fundraisers. This year's students, collectively, raised more than $3,000.

    "This event is not about one winner receiving a college scholarship but about these amazing young people contributing to the communities that have molded them," Pettus said. "It's about giving back and providing opportunity."

    The organization has provided scholarships the past seven years to 1,500 students. The students receiving Scholar Dollars scholarships must maintain a C+ average, have excellent attendance and no discipline referrals.

    Other Shoals Scholar Dollar Student of the Year finalists include: James Parker McGee, Brooks High School; Mackenzie Call, Central High School; Taylor Vance, Cherokee High School; Scarlett Johnson, Colbert County High School; Caleb S. Huckaba, Colbert Heights High School; Logan Williams, Covenant Christian School; Michael Andrew Statom, Deshler High School; Travis Wayne Simpson, Florence High School; Jose Bernardo Acosta, Lauderdale County High School; Jonah Gray, Lexington High School; Taylor Holliday, Mars Hill Bible School; Hunter Gooch, Rogers High School; Evan Austin, Sheffield High School; David Stephens, Shoals Christian School; Coleman Caddell, Waterloo High School; Darby Katherine Berrens, Wilson High School.


    2016 Shoals Student of the Year Nominees

    Matthew Koonce, Lauderdale County; Lyndsey Young, Mars Hill; Christopher Mason Hill, Colbert County; Annisha Borah, Florence; Autumn Solley, Rogers; Abbigail Austin, Waterloo; Paige Wilbanks, Rosewood Academy; Austin Knight, Brooks; Karah Rhodes, Muscle Shoals; Cameron Roddy, Sheffield; Grace Jaco, Colbert Heights; Blayne McCafferty, Lexington; Zachary Johnson, Central; Meghan Raney, Wilson; Jordan Fleming, Deshler; Hannah Catherine Abernathy, Shoals Christian; Corrie West, Covenant Christian; Garron Green, Cherokee