Reviewed by: Pat Byington
The 38th Bryant-Jordan Program State Awards recognizing exceptional student-athletes across Alabama were held in the Sheraton Ballroom in Birmingham last night.
The selected overall winners were Hatton High School’s Jazzmine Mason and Glencoe High School’s Katie Giles, two students who represented excellence in both academics and athletics. Keep reading to learn more about their stories, with information provided by the Alabama High School Athletics Association.
The Bryant-Jordan Program
The scholarship program, named in honor of the late coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant of Alabama and Ralph “Shug” Jordan of Auburn, recognized and awarded more than $410,000 in scholarships. A total of 104 students were honored– 52 in the scholar-athlete category, and 52 in the student achievement category.
Jazzmine Mason, Hatton High School
Hatton High School’s Jazzmine Mason was selected the 2023 Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Student Achievement Athlete of the Year Award recipient, an award honoring student-athletes who have excelled by overcoming personal challenges.
Mason overcame tremendous adversity to become a star leader among her peers. Living in an unstable home for much of her childhood, Mason suffered the loss of her mother, brother and grandmother within a two-year period. Ultimately, she made the decision to move to nearby Town Creek with her half-sister and enrolled in Hatton School.
Her involvement in sports teams provided Mason a new sense of family. Upon attending Hatton, she was embraced as a role model to her teammates and a prime example of resilience and leadership. Mason was named softball team captain, cheer team captain, Softball Role Player of the Year, Basketball Most Outstanding Athlete and School Impact Player of the Year.
Katie Giles, Glencoe High School
Katie Giles is a senior at Glencoe High School with big talent and big ambition. Giles, a 3A state cross country champion, was selected as the 2023 Larry D. Stiplin Jr. Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award recipient. A National Merit Finalist with a 4.46 GPA and perfect 36 ACT score, Giles is a true scholar-athlete in every sense of the word.
“I think of the word grit. There is something inherent in certain people, and Katie has that. People are born with it. You can’t teach it. The kid has that quality that doesn’t come along often.”Sherry Firestone, one of Giles’ teachers at Glencoe
Giles plans to attend the University of South Alabama, maintaining her cross country and track career while studying biomedical sciences. She credits the teachers and leaders in her life for their impact on her success, saying “they have pushed me to be the best I can be.”
Both state recipients received a total $10,500 in scholarship funds Monday night.
The list of other class and special scholarship recipients honored Monday night were:
- Larry Striplin Jr. Scholar-Athlete Winners
OVERALL: Katie Giles, Glencoe HS
1A – Reece Hall, Kinston HS
2A – Carson Hall, Ranburne HS
3A – Katie Giles, Glencoe HS
4A – Brooklyn Ehlers, Corner HS
5A – Annie Wingate, Eufaula HS
6A – Jack Heaps, Mountain Brook HS
7A – Maxwell Hardin, Auburn HS
- Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Student Achievement Winner
OVERALL: Jazzmine Mason, Hatton HS
1A – Nadia Moore, Loachapoka HS
2A – Jazzmine Mason, Hatton HS
3A – Blake Cleveland, Plainview HS
4A – Caleb Ray, T.R. Miller HS
5A – Jayden Spearman, Charles Henderson HS
6A – Troy Young, Athens HS
7A – Robert Suter, Enterprise HS
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