#8216;Unexpected#039; honor for two students

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 9, 2006

It took judges over three hours to narrow down a list of 26 candidates for the Achiever Award and neither of the two eventual winners thought they'd be the ones standing in the spotlight on Thursday night.

Georgiana's Josh Mount and Greenville's Kendra Mitchell were named winners of the 2006 Butler County Achiever Award.

Both were caught unaware.

&#8220No, no,” Mitchell said, smiling and shaking her head, when asked if she thought she'd win.

&#8220This is real unexpected,” said Mount. &#8220I've been praying about it and I'm just thrilled. I want to thank everyoneŠmy coaches, my teachers, my parentsŠwho pushed me to succeed when I wanted to quit.”

Mount said he plans to attend minister's school for two years after graduation. He then wants to pursue a degree in industrial electronics.

Mitchell said she has been attending Achiever Award ceremonies for the past few years and it was an honor to be selected as this year's female recipient.

&#8220I love you mom and dad!” She shouted to parents Brender and Kelvin Mitchell during her acceptance speech. &#8220All my coaches, who made me work when I didn't want toŠwe got the job done.”

Mitchell said she wants to be an obstetrician and will attend the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Carol Lee, Executive Director of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the judges had a particularly hard time choosing the top two applicants this year.

&#8220This was probably the toughest year ever,” she said. &#8220We know the judges struggled to choose both of the winners.”

A panel of outside judges, which this year included Trinity head football coach Randy Ragsdale and former Troy defensive back Derrick Ansley, selected both Mount and Mitchell following an exhaustive daylong meeting with each applicant at the Greenville YMCA, who jointly sponsors the award alongside the Chamber.

Mount is the son of Tabatha and David Lowery. He played football four years as tight end, defensive end, center, and outside linebacker. He is vice-president of the senior class and SGA representative. He participates in Example Youth Ministries, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Fellowship Among Christian Teachers and Students. He was recognized by Who's Who Among Student Athletes and Academic Students.

Mitchell received the Outstanding Offensive and Defensive Award during her four years playing basketball. She also played softball and was a Tiger cheerleader. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Future Business Leaders of America. She was also Girls State, National Leadership Forum Representative and participated in Upward Bound.

Featured speaker for the night's event was Mike Turk, head football coach at Huntingdon College.

&#8220My only experience with one of your (Achiever) winners has been very good,” said Turk, alluding to 2005's recipient of the Achiever Award Caleb Hartin, who is a football player at Huntingdon. &#8220Caleb has impressed me and he's impressed all of our coaches.”

Hartin, who attended along with fellow recipient Laura Skipper, said winning the Achiever Award is not for the &#8220weak-minded.”

&#8220Day after day you represent the best Butler County has to offer,” he said.

The Achiever Award is designed to recognize the outstanding senior male and female athletes of Butler County schools who also exemplify the attributes of Christian, community and academic leadership.