VINE GROVE, KY- In spite of a worldwide pandemic closing everything from schools to restaurants to hair salons, J. T. Alton Middle School has made it their mission to provide their Trojans with some sense of normalcy.
“We want to carry on with as many normal activities and plans as we can, that we were going to before all of this happened, that is safe for our students, our families, and of course our staff,” said second-year Alton Principal Kevin Estes.
In selecting this month’s, and final Student-Athlete of the Month for the 2019-20 school year, second year Alton Athletic Director had to look no further than his own second block class. “When (Lawson) Barger and me sat down to figure this all out, we wanted to give it to a spring High School 8th Grader, that was the criteria we set out, but also we wanted to give it to someone that kind of flies under the radar, that doesn’t get a lot of atta-boys or atta-girls for all the great things they do.”
With those criteria in mind, alongside the long-established criteria for this award, there was only a handful of logical choices to make. From that handful, one stood out amongst the rest to Rowland.
8th Grader Mercedes Durbin was going to play softball for North Hardin this year. She tried out for the team and even set herself apart in practice according to Head Coach Jessica Gunby. However, before her literal first at-bat, school and athletics were shut down resulting from the COVID-19 health crisis.
Gunby says, “I was very excited to have Mercedes as a part of the Trojan softball family this year. She is a great kid who works very hard and is eager to improve her game. The fact that she is very coachable and excited to learn made coaching her an easy task to do. I am looking forward to her freshman year when we can hopefully return to normal.”\
According to her 8th Grade Math Teacher, Fabian Bennett, “Mercedes is a very conscientious student who always gives her best and class. She gives her best in everything she does, and her character is evident in how she treats others.”
Echoing Bennett, Family Resource and Youth Services Center Coordinator, and Girl Power Club Sponsor Theresa Ovesen says that, “Mercedes is an excellent example of a student-athlete. She puts her whole heart into everything she does. Whether she is studying for a test, on the softball field, or with friends, she is someone that stands out as an outstanding student, athlete, and person.”
Concluding, when asked about his nomination of Durbin, Rowland said, “Sedy is one of those students and athletes that is always going to do her best to do whatever you ask her to. You’re always going to get her best, no matter what...We do our best to pay attention to all of our students, but because Sedy is always doing what she is supposed to, she's always going to fly under the radar, and those are the student’s that I really want to recognize with this award as much as the stand-out athletes. Sedy is a great kid, and a great person and she will be missed at Alton.
THIS ARTICLE IS INCOMPLETE DUE TO THE COVID-19 CLOSURE OF SCHOOL RENDERING OUR ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT’S ABILITY TO OBTAIN PAST RECORDS OF AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS INCONCLUSIVE.