CHAPEL HILL—Garner Fleming of Eastern Alamance High School and Meghan McPeak of Carrboro High School have won top honors in the fourth NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete essay contest.
The NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete program, powered 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 submitting a 400-word essay answering the question “What challenge(s) have you overcome to develop as a Scholar-Athlete?”, with one male and one female winner being chosen from the pool of entries.
There were 65 submissions representing 38 different high schools across the state, the most entries ever received in one of the NCHSAA essay contests. The winners received a Fitbit Flex fitness wristband and a gift pack from the NCHSAA.
Fleming is a junior who competes in football, wrestling and outdoor track. He said, “One of the biggest challenges for me is maintaining my grades, participating in the sports I love and then doing the things I feel are important for my personal contribution to my community.” Fleming says that time management is one of the primary obstacles for student-athletes.
Other male finalists included senior Jordan Fitzpatrick of Carrboro and senior Clayton Hering of Greensboro Page.
McPeak is a junior and captain of the women’s golf team at Carrboro. Her essay included describing her journey as a soccer player chosen to participate in the North Carolina Olympic Development Program, but she suffered three concussions as a freshman whcih eventually caused her to have to drop the sport.
As she turned to golf, she notes that “golf is a very different sport from soccer. I had to face an uphill battle with feeling hesitant and unconfident…I was entirely unprepared for the mental toughness one needed to get through a round of golf. I had never had to compete on such an individual level.”
Senior Logan Coon of Northwest Guilford and senior Ashton Duty of Cuthbertson were the other female finalists.
“We have received excellent responses from our student-athletes regarding our NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete Essay Contests,” said NCHSAA interim commissioner Que Tucker. “Congratulations go to both Meghan and Garner, as they did an outstanding job with the essays they submitted.”