By Jonathan Deal
Standing on the Athens High School football field Friday, Katie Pepper watched as Special Olympics athletes received awards for their achievements. For Pepper, volunteering at the Special Olympics or any other extracurricular activities is just a part of who she is.
The Tanner senior is one of five Limestone County student-athletes and 96 statewide to be selected as a Bryant-Jordan Scholarship winner.
Students selected were nominated by their respective high schools. A committee of school principals chose the area winners and a committee of school administrators in each region selected regional winners.
The overall and class winners will be selected by a statewide committee at the Bryant-Jordan Banquet Monday, April 14, at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel ballroom.
Pepper and other regional winners will receive $2,500 scholarships and have the opportunity to receive an additional $3,000 if they are named a class winner.
While the four other Limestone representatives were selected in the student-achievement division, Pepper is a scholar-athlete winner.
And for good reason.
Pepper will finish at Tanner with a 4.3 GPA. When she isn’t playing softball and volleyball for the Rattlers, Pepper is involved with a Robotics team at the Limestone County Career Tech Center.
“It’s just your run of the mill stuff,” said Pepper modestly.
After graduating with honors in May, she plans to attend Auburn University where she will study biosystems engineering.
In addition to her Bryant-Jordon scholarship, Pepper received a full scholarship to Auburn.
As a regional winner, Pepper is also eligible to receive several other scholarships that will be awarded by 14 Alabama four-year colleges and 14 Alabama community colleges participating in the program.
If Pepper is selected as the 1A class winner, Tanner will receive a $2,000 cash award.
In total, nearly $1 million in scholarships are awarded annually in the nationally-acclaimed program named after legendary football coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ralph “Shug” Jordan.
This will be the 29th year for the awards, which began as a project of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama High School Athletic Association.