The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 14, 2014

Elkmont’s Rhett Bailey wins Bryant-Jordan state award in Class 3A

3-sport star’s cancer comeback nets $5,500 in scholarships as achievement award winner

By Kim West

— Among peers with similarly inspiring tales of overcoming physical or personal obstacles, Elkmont High School senior Rhett Bailey has managed to stand out once again.

Bailey, who came back from a cancer diagnosis as a sophomore, was named the Class 3A student achievement winner during tonight’s Bryant-Jordan Awards banquet at the Birmingham Sheraton.

A three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball, Bailey’s story of being diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and overcoming multiple surgeries in the past three years vaulted him through a four-step selection process to win $5,500 in regional and state scholarships.

Limestone County had five Bryant-Jordan regional winners this year, with 96 honorees statewide in the award’s student achievement and scholar-athlete divisions.

Athens Bible tennis player Kennedy Palmer (1A), Tanner softball and volleyball player Katie Pepper (2A), Ardmore golfer Andrew Eakes (4A) and East Limestone football and basketball player Jordon Gandy (5A) each won $2,500 scholarships as Region 8 winners in their respective classifications.

The Bryant-Jordan overall winners are Jack Stansell of 6A, Region 2 Dothan in the scholar-athlete category and Maygean Boaz-Jeffords of 6A, Region 4 Chelsea in student achievement.

Bailey, a senior class officer and a delegate to the first-ever student senate in Limestone County this year, was among eight 3A regional finalists honored at tonight’s ceremony.

The other nominees were Marcus Wilson of Geneva, Jacob Johnson of Opp, Leah Pennington of Sipsey Valley, Drake McDonald of American Christian, Ryan Burns of Ashville, Ashley McKee of Sylvania and Andrew Cofer of Good Hope.