CHAPEL HILL—Emily Cooper of A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville and Joshua Wynn of Bear Grass Charter School in Martin County have won top honors in the second 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, with student-athletes asked to submit a 400-word essay answering the prompt: "Being a Scholar-Athlete will translate to my future success because…?" One male and one female winner were selected from the pool of entries to win an 8GB iPod Nano and gift pack from the North Carolina National Guard based on a set of pre-determined parameters. There were over 40 submissions representing 26 different member high schools across the state.
Cooper is a senior who competes in cross country and track and field at A.C. Reynolds, while Wynn is a sophomore at Bear Grass Charter who runs cross country and plays soccer.
Cooper entitled her essay “Treading Water Toward Success” but had an interesting take on the term “treading water.” She noted, "Treading water is commonly seen, metaphorically, as a stagnant activity that doesn’t produce much from all the labor involved. However, I like to see it, in a sort of oxymoronic way, as the basis for success. Over my years of being a Scholar Athlete, I’ve learned how to balance academics and athletics. Sometimes, they cause me to drop slightly below the surface of equilibrium, but I see this only as an obstacle on an upward swim. The ability to keep up with both halves of being a Scholar Athlete almost seems innate to me now. This instinct to stay afloat has evolved into the drive to make headway through this world.”
Wynn mentioned several aspects of being a Scholar Athlete that he has found beneficial, noting “…as a Scholar-Athlete my future is very bright because of all of the useful and beneficiary characteristics that it creates. It will prepare me for my college, career, and life. My success in time management, a healthy lifestyle and cooperative work ethic will ensure my attainment of all my future endeavors.”
“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 go to both of our winners, as they did a wonderful job with their submissions."
Patrick Butler of Millbrook High School in Raleigh and Elise Matera of Chapel Hill High School were the winners in the inaugural NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete essay contest last year.
See this year's winning entries below: