BULLARD — High school athletes are often recognized for their accomplishments on the field or court.
But on Thursday night, it wasn’t just about the athletic accomplishments of young men and women, but also what they’ve achieved off the field as 20 students were honored at the annual KTBB Scholastic All-Stars banquet at KE Bushman’s Celebration Center.
The guest speaker was Greg Tepper — the managing editor of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine and the co-host of Fox Football Friday on Fox Sports Southwest.
“I don’t actually know why I’m here,” Tepper joked before his speech. “It’s a great honor. When you’re surrounded by this many people who understand what the true meaning of the word student-athlete is, it’s humbling to be able to speak in front of them.
“I don’t have to change their path. All I have to do is tell them to continue the path they’re already on, and they’ll be fine, because they seem to already be headed in the right direction.”
Speaking to a room full of standout scholar-athletes, Tepper admitted his greatest athletic achievement was being on the seventh grade basketball B team with Major League Baseball pitcher Corey Kluber in Coppell.
In Tepper’s message, he emphasized that while talent is a good asset to have, hard work is often the key to being successful.
Honorees included Alba Golden’s Frederick Arenas, Mineola’s Kiley Banks, Winona’s Josie Barrerra, Whitehouse’s Jake Clemons, John Tyler’s Emmanuel Daniels, Carlisle’s Haley Fears, Union Grove’s Summer Grubbs, Tyler Lee’s Kourtney Hitchcock, White Oak’s Kason Kienzle, Longview’s William Langston, Chapel Hill’s William Lyles, Spring Hill’s Madelyn Malloy, Big Sandy’s Hakeem Menefee, Frankston’s Katie Roark, Jacksonville’s Riley Elizabeth Rodriguez, Bishop T.K. Gorman’s Daniel Schmitt, Brownsboro’s Luis Suarez, Sabine’s Michael Taylor, All Saints’ Hanna Waits and Canton’s Emily Watson.
“It’s cool to be recognized for what I’ve done on and off the field and for people to be able to see that,” said Clemons, who plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin.
“It’s a wonderful honor to be selected out of all the kids at Gorman and around East Texas," Schmitt said.
“It’s an amazing honor,” said Suarez, who plans to attend Harvard for biomedical engineering. “There are many student-athletes my coach could have picked, so that was an honor and then to be nominated out of all the students from East Texas is humbling.”
“It’s pretty crazy and feels awesome to know that I’m in a group with so many great people,” Hitchcock said.
The Scholastic All-Stars were presented with a plaque and a $750 scholarship. They will also be recognized on a commemorative page in Sunday’s edition of the Tyler Morning Telegraph.