Tallassee’s Emma Grace Qiaowei Coyle and Eclectic’s James Allen Singleton Jr. have joined the elite club of those who have won the Joe Sewell Memorial Award and John Sewell Scholarship.
Coyle, an All-American cheerleader from Tallassee High School, and Singleton, a three-sport athlete at Elmore County High School, were chosen from a class of 28 seniors from Elmore County high schools and named the 2019 recipients at the annual banquet on May 7 at the Wetumpka Civic Center. Each received a $3,000 scholarship.
“It’s shock, surprise and joy,” Coyle said afterward. “It’s really an overwhelming moment. Everybody up here, we were all told we looked the same on paper.”
Coyle, the daughter of John and Rebecca Coyle, attends Grace Point Church in Montgomery, is also a member of Students for Christ, won the Distinguished Young Women of Elmore County Scholastic Award, was the captain of Tallassee’s cheerleading squad and has scholarship offers from UAB, Faulkner and Auburn University.
“Cheerleading pushed me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “It helps me persevere, push through and keep going. I started it in middle school but when I got to varsity it stepped up to another level. There was no holding back. It taught me to step out of my comfort zone and be brave.”
Singleton, the son of James Singleton and Kristy Singleton, became the second member of his family to win the award following his sister Carter in 2013. Eleven Elmore County High students have won the Sewell awards, more than any other school.
He played football, basketball and baseball at ECHS and was the captain of the basketball and baseball teams. He attends Rock Springs Baptist Church, was a Bryant Jordan Regional Winner, president of the National English Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, and an ECHS Senior Elite. Singleton earned the Spirit of Auburn Scholarship, Trustees’ Scholarship and Ever to Conquer Scholarship to AU.
“My sister won it in 2013 and I came to it in middle school so I had set my sights on winning it,” he said. “I didn’t get the ninth-grade certificate so I was motivated to win it.”
Singleton said baseball was his favorite sport growing up but basketball taught him valuable lessons.
“We won six games the past two years,” he said. “Adversity helps you grow a lot. You don’t always learn the most from winning.”
Eight other finalists won category awards of $1,000 each. They were:
• Girls Leadership Award, Anna Kate Norton, Wetumpka High.
• Boys Leadership Award, Bailey Barfoot, Stanhope Elmore High.
• Girls Academic Award, Grace Barlet, Elmore County High.
• Boys Academic Award, Tucker Jones, Holtville High.
• Girls Church, Community and Character Award, Jalauryn Crenshaw, Stanhope Elmore High.
• Boys Church, Community and Character Award, Hunter Wallace, Wetumpka High.
• Girls Athletic Award, Madison Traylor, Elmore County High.
• Boys Athletic Award, Taylor Abernathy, Edgewood Academy.
The ninth-grade certificate winners were:
• From Edgewood Academy: Jake Allison, Emma Brown, Colton Jones and Emma Weldon.
• From Elmore County High: Jack Atkinson, Sean Darnell, Pari Claire Hall and Cheyenne Thornton.
• From Holtville High: Mikey Forney, Cooper Mann, Brae Lee Morris and Erin Wilson.
• From New Life Christian Academy: Aubrey Allen, Nathan Golden, MaryBeth Merrell and Annabelle Tucker.
• From Stanhope Elmore High: Abbie Deason, Anna Grace Deason, Kelbi Johnson and Madison McElrath.
• From Tallassee High: Chloe Baynes, Woodrow Dean, Belle Haynes and Caleb Mason.
• From Wetumpka High: Avery Thomas, Austin Turner, Kylie Wilson and Tracy Wright.