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Bryant-Jordan Scholarship goes to local student-athletes

Two Franklin County student-athletes were awarded Bryant-Jordan Regional Scholar-Athlete scholarships last week.

Phil Campbell’s Ben Williams was awarded the Class 3A Region 7 scholarship, while  Russellville’s A.J. Taylor was awarded the Class 5A Region 7 scholarship.

Williams plays football, basketball and golf at Phil Campbell. He was the football team captain and is Student Council president, Junior Civitan president, National Honor Society president, Boys State attendee and Class 2020 valedictorian.

“I am honored to be selected to represent our region for the Bryant-Jordan scholarship,” said Williams. “I am thankful for Coach Riddle and Mrs. Vickery for leading me to this scholarship opportunity.”

Phil Campbell Principal Darit Riddle said the school is so proud of Williams.

“He is truly deserving, and he is an awesome representation of students who work hard and do things the right way,” Riddle said. “He is an asset to Phil Campbell High School, and we look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the future.”

Taylor, an RHS cross-country runner and basketball and softball player, is part of the ACT 28+ Club and Mu Alpha Theta. She had the highest grade point average in the Miss RHS Pageant, with a 4.8 weighted GPA. She works part time at the Russellville Parks and Recreation Department and is volunteering at Encore Rehabilitation.

“I was so surprised and honored when I found out,” said Taylor. “I’ve worked so hard throughout my life trying to go to college for softball, not knowing there were other opportunities for scholarship money that my dedication to being an athlete would get me.

“My parents have always held me to high expectations with my grades and sports,” Taylor added, “and I am thankful for them and their standards they made me uphold.”

RHS Principal Jason Goodwin said it is “an honor for A.J. to represent Russellville High School.”

“She is an extremely dedicated young lady who understands the importance of academics,” Goodwin said. “A.J. has done a great job balancing her time to ensure her grades are equally as important as any of the three sports she plays. I am extremely proud for her, and I look forward to seeing her continued successes as she approaches the next phase of her life.”

There were 52 scholarships awarded to students across the state – eight in each class except 7A, which has four – in the scholar-athlete category.

Williams and Taylor have already won $3,500 scholarships. Both have the chance to win additional grants in their classes. They also have a chance to win the Larry Striplin Jr. Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

The winners will be announced April 13.