Rotarians recognize top senior athletes

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Rotary Club of Kilgore awarded $2000 in scholarships to four local high school athletes at its weekly meeting on Wednesday. The athletes, two from Kilgore High School and two from Sabine High School, were recognized for their exemplary performance on the field as well as their top-notch grades.

All four athletes are graduation seniors and will soon move on to college.

“These four young people have maintained excellent grades and are, on the average, in about the top ten percent of their class. At the same time, they have participated in athletics and other school and community affairs. They have been very active and it is a pleasure and an honor to have them here today,” Dave Castles, Rotarian and former teacher, coach and athletic director at Kilgore College, said.

The first senior recognized was Austin Adams from Kilgore High School. Adams is ranked third in his class academically and played varsity football at KHS for three years, earning an “Outstanding Lineman” designation for two years. Adams plans to attend Texas A&M University where he will major in engineering.

Mike Wood, athletic director at Kilgore High School, spoke about some of Adams’ accomplishments.

“What I want to share with you are some of the things that I have seen in the last six or seven years that he’s been part of our program,” Wood said. “Austin is a young man of character and compassion. Every morning of every school day, his day starts with helping our special needs kids with their breakfast. Then from there they go into their Adaptive P.E. class and Austin works with the coach preparing those kids for their Special Olympics and their game days.”

The next senior athlete to be recognized was Jackson Lutz from Sabine High School. Lutz plans to attend Texas A&M as well, where he will study political science before moving into pre-law. Lutz was a member of the National Honor Society and ranked in the top ten percent of his class. He also competed in UIL debate at the state level.

Basketball and football coach Colby Carr told the Rotarians about Lutz’s achievements during his time at Sabine High.

“As a coach, it’s always been my prayer that the Lord would bless me with some kids that were high character kids with extremely high work ethics and that were unselfish individuals,” Carr said. “I got so lucky this year coming to Sabine. That guy right there was in my corner from day one. He is a brother to me and always will be.”

The next senior athlete to be awarded also attends Sabine High School. Adriana Salgado, who plans to study biology at Texas A&M before going to medical school to become a radiologist, competed in UIL debate at the state level, was a member of the National Honor Society and played on the soccer team. She also won second place in the Longview Museum of Fine Arts Student Invitational art competition.

Sabine tennis coach Cara Robinson described some of the experiences she had with Adriana as a student and member of the tennis team.

“I’ve only had one year with Adriana but it has truly been a blessing,” Robinson said. “What’s really important and amazing about Adriana is not necessarily what she does on the field and on the court. It’s what she does in the classroom. She is an incredibly intelligent young lady. She is a member of our UIL academic team and we actually found out today that we are the 2018 state champions for the state of Texas.”

The final senior athlete honored by the Rotary Club was Kaitlin Word from Kilgore High School. Word was a member of the soccer team at KHS, where she won numerous awards, and plans to play soccer on a scholarship at East Texas Baptist University while also majoring in physical therapy. Word was also a member of the National Honor Society and was ranked thirteenth in her class.

Head Girls Soccer Coach Heidi Hagan-McPeak spoke on behalf of Word.

“Caitlin is someone that her peers look up to and she’s very, very dependable,” Hagan-McPeak said. “I think when you have a lot of leadership, you have to be a servant and Caitlin is definitely someone who is going to get the job done.”

Each senior received a $500 scholarship award from the Rotary Club, as well as an American flag and a certificate.

Kilgore High School seniors will graduate on Friday, May 25 and Sabine High School seniors will graduate on Saturday, May 26.

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