CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016-2017 Pat Gainey Student Award, providing scholarship support for two student-athletes with a focus on need-based applicants. This year’s recipients are Nzia Imani Hall from Southern Durham High School and Joseph Samuel Hall from Topsail High School. Each recipient receives a $2,000 scholarship award and a commemorative plaque when they are presented at the NCHSAA Annual Meeting held each May in Chapel Hill.
Nzia Hall, a senior at Southern Durham has amassed a 4.8 weighted GPA over her four years of high school and plans to attend North Carolina A&T State University to study Biomedical Science. She participated in volleyball and track and field during each of the four years at Southern Durham, winning the team’s award for “Most Improved” her sophomore year in volleyball before being named the team’s defensive MVP her junior season. As a junior in the track program, she was the team’s field M.V.P. and all conference in the long jump and triple jump finishing fourth and fifth in the 3A Regional in those respective events.
She has worked with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina as well as the Durham Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity during her high school career. Hall was awarded the Frank Howard Alston Education Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement during her senior year and is a member of FBLA’s (Future Business Leaders of America) Students of Service. After watching her parents battle addiction throughout her childhood, Hall hopes to become a neurologist and research with a team trying to discover a way to prevent the occurrence of substance addiction.
Joseph Samuel Hall, a senior at Topsail High School, has compiled a 4.2 weighted GPA during his four-year career at Topsail. He was a varsity baseball player all four years with the Pirates and was a Pre-Season All-American First Team selection in both his sophomore and junior seasons. He received all-area and all-conference honors in each of those years as well, and was named team captain of the East Coast Pro USA Baseball Tournament of Stars squad, participating in the USA Baseball team trials his junior year.
He has been active in his church youth group and has been a community service volunteer with Hampstead United Methodist Church. He plans to attend Clemson and pursue a degree in Sports Communication while he continues his baseball career at the school. He hopes not only to be able to play Major League Baseball one day, but also to partner with his church to start a non-profit organization to benefit the children in South Africa. His baseball coach at Topsail, Aaron Rimer, credited him with starting a big buddy program that pairs upperclassmen with underclassmen in order to mentor them and promote academic and athletic development.
The Pat Gainey Student Award is given annually by the NCHSAA through a private donation from Pat Gainey’s daughter, Berry Jo Gainey Shoen. The Gainey Student Athlete Scholarship Award was established to recognize “Athletic Achievement and Strength of Character.” A scholarship is presented annually to a senior female athlete and a senior, Male baseball player attending NCHSAA member high schools located within counties of limited financial resources.
Pat Gainey was a native of Dunn, N.C. and a phenomenal women’s basketball coach in several different coaching stops during his career. His teams compiled an incredible 93-6 record during his time as the women’s basketball coach at Pamlico where he also fielded outstanding baseball teams. He then moved to Taylorsville where he coached from 1955 to 1964. His women’s basketball teams collectively won five Western North Carolina High School Activities Association titles and at one point recorded 54 consecutive wins and 140 straight conference victories. His overall women’s basketball career mark was 358-57.