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USSA holds 2024 Scholar Athlete of the Year banquet, Baker’s Hendrix wins top honor

DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — Several of the Gulf Coast’s top student-athletes gathered at the United States Sports Academy for the annual WKRG Scholar Athlete of the Year banquet.

Baker High School’s Helen Hendrix was named the 2024 Scholar Athlete of the Year — Hendrix is a senior and has served as captain of the Hornets cross country and track and field teams. She has a 4.79 GPA, scored a 32 on the ACT and is ranked among the top-10 students in her graduating class.

“I would definitely say my coaches and my family, they’ve been there supporting me through every step, through injury, through really everything,” Hendrix said when asked about her four year career at Baker. “So I give it all to them and to God because I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”

(Photo courtesy of Jon Hauge Photography)
(Photo courtesy of Jon Hauge Photography)

Upon graduation, Hendrix plans to attend the University of South Alabama Honors College with early acceptance into medical school.

“My dream is to be a doctor,” Hendrix said. “I’m one step closer to reaching and achieving that goal.”

Hendrix is a member National Honor Society, Key Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Baker HS Ambassadors, Mu Alpha Theta and HOSA – Future Health Professionals.

“We are proud to celebrate Helen’s dedication to her sport on the track and also her perseverance in the classroom and community,” USSA President Dr. Steven Condon said. “We are proud to recognize Helen’s accomplishments and thrilled that she is such a good representative of Baker High School. She exemplifies the meaning of the phrase ‘scholar athlete’ and we’re just so excited to be able to reward her hard work.”

USSA and WKRG partner to recognize the accomplishments of local student-athletes year-round. WKRG Sports Director Simone Eli emceed Monday’s banquet alongside USSA President Dr. Steve Conden.

More than two dozen scholar athletes from the 2023-2024 school year were recognized at the banquet. Baker High School was honored for having the most recipients.

Alma Bryant was represented by several members of volleyball and football teams — which included one of the top students in this year’s graduating class, Hurricane’s senior Lawson Lee.

Lee is ranked near the top of the 2024 senior class at Alma Bryant with a 4.859 GPA, the highest mark of all students at Monday’s banquet.

“It’s exciting to be honored,” Lee said. “I want to I want to become a civil engineer. So I wanted to get good grades and get a scholarship to Auburn to help me with paying for college.”

Mary G. Montgomery High School had several representatives at this year’s banquet including Caroline Torres — the Viking’s senior ran cross country and played goalie for the soccer team, while serving as the class president with a 35 ACT.

(Photo courtesy of Jon Hauge Photography)
(Photo courtesy of Jon Hauge Photography)

Torres is an NCWIT Aspiration in Computing honorable mention and a College Board National Hispanic Recognition Program awardee.

“Finding your passion and finding your friends,” Torres said of her high school memories. “I think the athlete part is big, but I think that student comes along the way as you go. [Representing MGM] is really important to me. My dad came from Cuba, so it’s just like I’m showing that I’m capable as a person. I’m attending Auburn University Honors College and majoring in engineering.”

The United States Sports Academy awarded two scholar athletes with four-year scholarships at Monday’s banquet.

Citronelle High School’s Brayden Helton was the first recipient of the Jim Thorpe Scholar Athlete Scholarships and Foley High School’s Aliyah Williams was awarded the first Pat Summitt Scholar Athlete Scholarships.

“Extremely happy because I get to stay very close to home with no expenses and no debt,” Helton said of the scholarship. “It means a lot that I was trusted to honor this memorial. I want to get my degree in exercise science and then go for a pre physical therapy and be a traveling physical therapist.”

Click here to view this year’s WKRG Scholar Athlete of the Week winners.

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