Millbrook, Chapel Hill Students Win NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete Essay Contest

            CHAPEL HILL—Patrick Butler of Millbrook High School in Raleigh and Elise Matera of Chapel Hill High School have won top honors in the inaugural NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete essay contest.

            The NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete program, presented by the North Carolina National Guard, is one of the Association’s most popular voluntary programs and recognizes excellence in the classroom as well as on the playing court or field.

            As part of the program, the NCHSAA offered the essay contest for the first time, with student-athletes submitting a 400-word essay answering the question “What Makes A Scholar-Athlete?”, with one male and one female winner being chosen from the pool of entries. There were over 40 submissions representing 26 different high schools across the state, and the winners receive an 8 GB iPod Nano and a gift pack from the North Carolina National Guard.

            Butler is a junior tennis player at Millbrook while Matera is a junior who participates in women’s cross country as well as track and field at Chapel Hill.

            Matera noted in her essay that “far from the dumb jock or the unpopular nerd, the scholar-athlete is a striking shade of grey on the spectrum of stereotypes; two seemingly unlikely parts joined together by a hyphen, a determination to success and a love to learn.”

            Butler said that “academics are always the first priority, but sports are also very important. They enable a scholar-athlete to experience collaborating, strategizing and succeeding with others on a team. Athletics offer life lessons and knowledge that cannot be obtained from academics alone.”

            “We received a tremendous response from our student-athletes regarding the inaugural NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete Essay Contest and are excited about the future of this competition,” said NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield. “Congratulations to both Elise and Patrick, as they did a wonderful job with their submissions."

            The next NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete essay contest will occur in the fall of 2014.