Marino quoted words of wisdom previously delivered by a pair of county student-athletes — Lumberton High School’s Connor Haskins and Red Springs High School’s Chelsi Oxendine.
“You listen to the title (scholar-athlete) and you hear scholar first,” Haskins said a month ago on being May’s AOTM honoree. “So first of all, it’s about getting your classroom work done, taking care of your grades. I try to focus as much as I can on getting the classroom stuff done so I can participate in athletics.”
Oxendine uttered a similar grades-before-play sentiment as December’s AOTM winner.
“Being a scholar athlete means that I work hard and play hard and stay focused,” she said. “My parents, they always said academics will get you somewhere … sports might.”
Both made sure to stick true to their mantras this year.
In doing so, Haskins and Oxendine were named the scholar athletes of the 2011-12 school year. Each received a crystallized trophy and a college scholarship check from Mountaire worth $1,500.
Haskins maintained a 4.2 weighted GPA while excelling in football, swimming, men’s tennis and golf. He will attend The University of North Carolina at Pembroke — the all-county kicker signed to UNCP’s football team — and is considering majoring in political sciences.
Oxendine, a three-sport standout in volleyball, basketball and softball, carried a 4.36 weight GPA this school year, earning her Red Springs’ Valedictorian honor. What’s more, her achievements on and off the field came while gritting through a torn ACL she suffered during the basketball season. Oxendine will attend North Carolina State University in the fall and major in veterinarian medicine.
Hughes speaks on leadership
Wednesday’s banquet featured motivational speaker Benny T. Hughes, a 28-year Air Force veteran and author of the book “Leadership … Put a CAP on It!”
Hughes broke down the term ‘CAP’ into three variables — Communication, Attitude and Performance — in describing what it takes to be a successful leader.
“Anything that fails, you can go back and examine those three things,” Hughes said. “You can take CAP and immediately improve your professional and personal life.”
Hughes appeared genuinely floored by the decorated resumes — athletically and academically — of Robeson County’s scholar athlete of the month honorees, who include: Lumberton’s Anderson Branch, Michael Bailey, Jaynell Brown and Connor Haskins; Purnell Swett’s Erin Kenworthy, Tyler Baker, Laura Bird and Moira Dial; Red Springs’ Chelsi Oxendine; and St. Pauls’ Khadijah Priest.
“You’d have to multiply my GPA by three to get to your guys’ average,” Hughes said. “And I couldn’t play a radio without getting sacked … .”
Collectively, the group of AOTM winners held a GPA over 4.0 and accounted for nearly 20 all-conference selections.
Reach Sports editor Kaleb Roedel at 910-272-6111 or firstname.lastname@example.org