Scholarships will be available

Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, December 3, 2008

AHOSKIE – At least three student-athletes will be awarded scholarships in the honor of the late Nick Brantley.

As has become custom, student-athletes will be recognized with college scholarships during the third annual Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament slated for next week.

The varsity and junior varsity basketball tournament is sponsored jointly by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and United Country Joe Murray Realty. It honors the life and playing career of Nick Brantley, who played at Ridgecroft, graduated from Virginia Tech and went on to a career in the United States Navy. He was tragically killed in a training exercise in 2005.

During the first two years of the tournament, nine student-athletes have been awarded $500 scholarships . They were chosen based on high achievement as students, good sportsmanship and tenacity as players.

Those student-athletes who have been honored in Brantley’s memory include: Drew Pinnix (Northeast Academy), Lauren Lilley (Ridgecroft School), Frank Feher (Bethel Christian Academy), Kendall Street (Lawrence Academy), Mindy Miller (Bethel Christian Academy), Miles Newbern (Ridgecroft School), Hayes Bryant (Ridgecroft School), Parker Brown (Northeast Academy) and Lori Coggins (Northeast Academy).

“I think it is one of the most important parts of the Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament,” said News-Herald Sports Editor Thadd White. “We purposely named this a scholarship tournament to recognize our dedication to helping student-athletes follow in Nick’s footsteps.”

Each year a committee reviews student-athletes nominated by their respective schools. The nominee must have a high Grade Point Average (GPA), be members of the varsity basketball team at their school, be at least a junior and demonstrate good sportsmanship and intense play on the court.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to honor student-athletes who give their all every day both in the classroom and on the basketball court,” said Joe Murray, owner of United Country Realty in Ahoskie. “We have found these young men and women to be excellent examples of what we want to see representing our schools.”

The scholarships are made possible by the donations of local individuals and businesses. Many people or businesses have made contributions to the scholarship fund. They include Michael and Billie Jo Harrell, Dr. Robert and Valerie Cooke, Strickland Auto Group, William Hall of Hall Auto Parts, Jerry Cowen of C & S Insurance and Joyce and Keith Brantley, Nick’s parents.

Others who have contributed to the scholarship fund include Dennis and Connie Hudson, Billy and Barbara Hudson, Helen Anderson, Dr. Gelot and Beth, Brown and Sandy Smith, Dr. Sawyer and Lois, John and Jessie Simons, Ed and Joyce Horton, Pam Askew, Buck and Barbara Parker, Fred and Marilyn Johnston, Frances Bracy, Dr. and Mrs. Khoury, Jean Hudson, Liz and Tommy Hale, Dr. Shammas and Lina, Ann Basnight, Mary Ruth Sykes and Carol Davis.

Also, Joe Mizelle of Mizelle’s Accounting is providing a scholarship for the third consecutive year.

“I have believed in what this tournament is about from the very beginning,” Mizelle said. “Any time we can honor our student-athletes and help them with their college career, I am happy to be a part of that.”

Thus far more than $6,000 has been raised. The money is being used to set up a long-term scholarship fund that will allow the tournament and scholarships to continue into the future.

“We want to insure the future of the tournament and still continue to honor our current student-athletes,” Murray said. “It is important that we set up parameters now that will allow this tournament to continue long after all of us are gone.”

Those wishing to contribute to the Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Fund can do so by sending the check to Ridgecroft School, P.O. Box 1008, Ahoskie, NC 27910. The check should be earmarked for the scholarship fund.