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Franklin County Times Scholar-Athlete of the Week

By By Kim West
Franklin County Times
Editor's note: This story ran Dec. 2 and incorrectly identified the Scholar-Athlete of the Week as Martha Billingham. The corrected story will also run in the Dec. 9 print edition. The Franklin County Times regrets the error and is happy to set the record straight.
BELGREEN – Junior point guard Deborah Billingham draws high praise from Belgreen varsity girls coach Shauna Humphries.
"She is a coach's dream because her work ethic is unusual – I couldn't ask for a harder or more dedicated worker," said Humphries, who has coached Billingham for the past five years. "She apparently applies the same work ethic academically, and I'm proud to have her on my team."
Billingham, 16, has a 4.0 grade-point average and was elected Student Council secretary this year. She attends Belgreen First United Methodist Church and belongs to the Envirothon Team, Math Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Faith Followers and Beta Club.
"I guess my best subject is math," said Billingham, whose sister, Rachel, and father, Frank, both teach math at Belgreen. "But my favorite teacher is Mrs. (Karen) Thompson. She's a history teacher, and I just learn really well in her class and she makes us take notes."
In addition to playing four sports – cross country, track, basketball and softball – Billingham said she enjoys the social and learning aspects of attending Belgreen.
"I like playing sports and seeing my friends every day," Billingham said. "And I like to learn."
Billingham hasn't narrowed down her college choices yet, but she knows what she would like to study.
"I do know that I want to stay in Alabama," Billingham said. "I'd like to study zoology and wildlife or major in environmental biology."
An ideal day would include scuba diving, according to Billingham.
"If I could do anything, I would go scuba diving to the reefs because I haven't gone before. I would look at the coral and the fish," said Billingham.
Billingham possesses a calm demeanor, which helps her on the basketball court and softball diamond.
"My best sports are basketball and softball," Billingham said. "As a point guard and a catcher, I like knowing that I have to be a leader and play through presssure."
Billingham added she would love to win the county championship in basketball this season and beat archrival Red Bay, which defeated Belgreen for the county title last season.
"We could win against Red Bay if we played better offensively and drove the ball to the basket," she said. "Defensively, we need to help each other out since both teams can break each other's press."
Billingham has never had trouble finding someone to practice against after growing up with seven siblings who all excelled at sports, including her twin sister Martha, who is also a four-sport athlete and a starting guard on the basketball team.
"She's more aggressive than me, but we're both competitive. She used to win all the time when we played one-on-one, but now I think we're pretty even," Billingham said. "I think it's a good thing coming from a big family – it can be tough with sports, but there's nothing I can do about that so I don't worry about it."
Billingham described her sense of humor as sarcastic and identified guidance counselor and basketball coach Micah Jackson as the funniest person she knows at Belgreen.
"Sarcasm makes me laugh – it kind of runs in the family. And when people say dumb things, I like to tease them about it. I've said things like that before, so my teammates get on me right away and I laugh at myself, too," she said. "Mr. Jackson is the kind of person to make you laugh all the time, and he is always joking around."
Billingham is the daughter of Frank and Karen Billingham and has five sisters (Mary, Martha, Sarah, Anna and Rachel) and two brothers (Samuel and Jonathan).