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Banquets honor special students

It is a busy time of year for high school as graduation and commencement exercises draw near. The students, and even some of the teachers, are counting down the days until the school year expires and they are free to enjoy the summer.

The last month of school, however, should be the most enjoyable. It is a time of year when students and student-athletes are honored at banquets, class days and even treated to lunch by civic groups.

Unfortunately, many of the students are too busy counting down the days until school lets out for the summer to fully appreciate the honors they receive.

Student-athletes should be especially proud because they not only played a role in their team's success, but also maintained grades which allowed them to continue to participate in extracurricular activities.

Sports, like other extracurricular activities including band and choir, are not a right guaranteed to students.

The opportunity to participate in these extra activities is a privilege that must be earned.

I would like to take this space to congratulate each and every student-athlete for a successful 2002-2003 school year.

Regardless of the win-loss record for the team they played on, each student-athlete is a winner in my book.

They are winners because they learned about hard work, sacrifice and dedication. They were taught what it means to be a leader and how to perform under pressure.

The student-athletes in Covington County and throughout the state have learned valuable lessons on the gridiron, basketball court, volleyball court, baseball diamond, softball diamond, tennis court, golf course and sidelines cheering on their school's teams.

Now, many of these fine young men and women will move on and start the next chapter in their lives by going off to college, joining the armed forces or becoming a part of the workforce.

They have learned lessons that should help them in the so-called "real world" and they will have fond memories of their glory days playing high school sports.

The student-athletes who are not graduating this year have another season to prepare for. They are lucky enough to have at least one more year ahead of them in which to participate in high school athletics.

For those returning for another season I remind them that student-athletes are students first and athletes second. They are also role models, especially for the younger students at their school and in their communities.

I salute you for a great 2002-2003 school year and look forward to covering you again when the high school sports' season begins with volleyball and football this fall. Until then, have a great summer.

John Wallace is the sports editor of, and columnist for, The Andalusia Star-News, a