Banquet honors Alexander Jr. High athletes

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Alexander Junior High student/athletes and their families were treated to an inspirational speech by Ole Miss senior basketball standout Nikki Byrd Monday night.  Byrd spoke briefly on the importance of being a scholar first and then an athlete.

     The AJH Spring Sports Banquet, held at the Brookhaven Parks & Recreation Department’s headquarters, honored athletes in basketball, track, baseball and cheerleading.

     Byrd, a 6-foot-4 center, began her basketball career as an eighth grader at AJH. She didn’t make the team as a seventh grader.

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     “You have to overcome obstacles in your life,” said Byrd. “Being a student/athlete demands hard work and dedication. You have to keep your grades up in college or you won’t be on the team.”

     Byrd, an honors student, is scheduled to graduate next month with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, with an emphasis on Homeland Security. She said success at the college level demands a year-round work ethic.

     “People don’t see all the hard work, practice and community service they are required to perform,” said Byrd. “All they see is the player in uniform. The game is the fun part.

     She stressed the importance of a strong Christian lifestyle. “You must keep God first in your life and stay in your books.”

     AJH Booster Club president Tiffany Blackwell gave a preview of the banquet program.  Kyla Wilcher welcomed the large crowed and Alex Jordan Nations provided the invocation.

     Asia Byrd introduced Byrd to the group. Ivoyanna Smith presented the guest speaker with an appreciation plaque.

     Pam Davis and Stacy Walker recognized the 24 cheerleaders and presented them with medallions. Presenting awards were Coaches Tonya Johns, Wallace Lilly, Jerrold Willis, Randy Spring, Dustin Lott and Chad Leggett.

     Students presented the coaches with gifts of appreciation. AJH principal Rod Henderson congratulated the athletes on their successful seasons and applauded their enthusiasm.

     Henderson said, “I want to see the same kind of enthusiasm and effort when state testing begins next week. We want to make Alexander outstanding in academics, too.”

     Special awards went to:


     Seventh Grade: Denarius Gray, Most Valuable Player; Damarius Brooks, Best Offensive Player; Jaquarims Davis, Scholastic Award; Jaquarims Davis, Panther Award; Grant James, Most Improved; Coach’s Award, Zach Powell.

     Eighth Grade: Lazorian McNulty, Most Valuable Player; Marte Jones, Best Offensive Player; Brandon Hanyard, Best Defensive Player; Darian Wilson, Scholastic Award, Panther Award; Darius Bryant, Most Improved; Shon Blackwell, Coach’s Award.


     Seventh Grade: Akia James, Hustle Award; Cheyenne Motley, Best Defensive Player; Sonya Seals, Most Improved; Jada Henderson, Best Offensive Player; Michelle Herrington, Panther Award; Mya Newton, Scholastic Award.

     Eighth Grade: Taylor Murray, Most Improved; Johnahya Williams, Panther Award; Mya Washington, Best Offensive Player; Jerricka Williams, Best Defensive Player; Makayla Longino, Scholastic Award; Mya Washington, Most Valuable Player.


     Artia Robinson, Panther Award; Jamese Robinson, Most Valuable Distance Runner; Johnahya Williams, Most Valuable Sprinter; Jerricka Williams, Most Valuable Player; Scholastic Award, Kyla Wilcher.


     Lazorian McNulty,  Most Valuable Sprinter; Damion Wilson, Most Valuable Distance Runner; Marte Jones, Most Valuable Field Events; Kieran Williams, Scholastic Award; Tajah Black, Panther Award.


     Blaine Moak, Best Offensive Player; Stone Case, Alex Nations, Best Pitcher; Garrett Smith, Mr. Hustle; Brandon Hanyard, Most Improved; Darrian Wilson, Panther Award, Scholastic Award.