ATLANTA, GA (June 5, 2019) – 

Brittany Benner, a rising senior at Lee County High School, was recently named Georgia’s Most Positive Girls Soccer Athlete.  It was presented to her by Hines Ward, NFL MVP, at the College Football Hall of Fame this week. 

She was given this honor because she stayed positive after tearing her ACL during the first round of the Varsity soccer state tournament her freshman year and for giving back to her community through Georgia Special Olympics YLead and the local Challenger League.  She is 1 of only 40 students chosen for the YLead forum, which she has attended since she was 13.  She organized the first soccer camp for Challenger League her freshman year.  The 3rd annual camp just wrapped up in May.  She has also been a buddy during their baseball and kickball season as well as during their tennis camp.

The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-a Fan Experience was again host the Sixth Annual Georgia Positive Athlete Awards on Tuesday, June 4th. Student Athletes representing 29 different boys’ and girls’ high school sports, two coaches, and Calvary Christian School were honored by community leaders, as well as Olympic and professional athletes.

Over 5,400 nominations from coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers, and parents were submitted representing 415 public and private schools. Former Forest Park High School, University of Georgia and Pittsburgh Steelers star, Hines Ward, and local businessman Scott Pederson created Positive Athlete as a movement for more positivity in youth sports. In addition to excellence on the field, each nominated Positive Athlete was required to show characteristics such as an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent all the time, and realizing the team as more important than the individual.

“We did not put out a search for the best athletes in Georgia,” said Ward, “We put out a search for kids with positive attitudes whose efforts don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheets. These kids are also positive role models in their schools who get involved in charitable causes, have already learned the meaning of giving back at an early age, and many have overcome difficult circumstances and remained positive”.

Here is a list of the 2018-2019 Georgia Award Winners:

Jordan Kozloski Adapted Sports Houston County

Zachary Garcia Baseball Calvary Christian

Gabe Roland Boys Alternative (Shooting) Southland Academy

Ashley Clegg Girls Alternative (Riflery) Social Circle

Matthew Lane Boys Basketball Etowah

Jaycie Bowen Girls Basketball Banks County

Sean Witmer Boys Cross Country Cherokee

Mikaela Sanders Girls Cross Country Westminster School

Luke Schindler Boys Golf The Weber School

Pari Jain Girls Golf Peachtree Ridge

Phillip Bell Boys Lacrosse Hillgrove

Ablavi Woeledji Girls Lacrosse Southwest DeKalb

Ryan Craft Boys Multi-Sport Heritage (Ringgold)

Anna Kubas Girls Multi-Sport Elbert County

Wasswa Robbins Boys Soccer Lovett

Brittany Benner Girls Soccer Lee County

Victor Lane Boys Swim & Dive Pickens

Hannah Gerrick Girls Swim & Dive Westlake

Anish Bikmal Boys Tennis South Forsyth

Jalicia McRae Girls Tennis Dublin

Nijal Sanders Boys Track & Field Cairo

Brianna Tillman Girls Track & Field Academy of Richmond County

Taylor Hester Cheerleading Thomas County Central

Sheddrick Risper Jr. Football Westside (Macon)

Skyelar Speck Gymnastics Union Grove

Ashleigh Grace Softball North Forsyth

Carter Martin Special Olympics Forsyth Central

Hannah Kate Chadwell Volleyball Brunswick

John Koroly Wrestling North Cobb

Reginald Anderson Boys Coach Duluth

Angela Lack Girls Coach Kennesaw Mountain

In addition to recognizing the athletes and coaches, Calvary Christian School in Columbus, GA was honored as the Most Positive High School, and 22 student-athletes were awarded over $30,000 in college scholarships from corporate and strategic partners:

Delta Air Lines “Positive Athlete Scholarships” ($2,500.00)

- Wasswa Robbins – Lovett

- Mikaela Sanders - Westminster School

Cobb EMC “Positive Energy Award” ($1,000.00)

- Maya Kahn – The Walker School

Northside Hospital “Leadership Awards” ($1,000 scholarships)

- Brian DeLuryea – Campbell

- Bennett Jones – Chattahoochee

- Victoria Ridgeway – Etowah

- Theo Hardy – Chamblee-Charter

LGE Community Credit Union “Extra Credit Awards” ($1,000.00 scholarships)

- Adam Kiel – North Paulding

- John Koroly – North Cobb

WellStar “Wellness Ambassadors” ($1,000.00 scholarships)

- Gabriella Sabater – Kell

- Shania Dickerson – Cedar Grove

- Matthew Lane – Etowah

Stars & Strikes “Gamer Award” ($1,000.00 scholarship)

- Pari Jain – Peachtree Ridge

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta “Hope & Will” Awards ($1,000.00 scholarships)

- Hunter Barber – Hampton

- Phillip Bell – Hillgrove

Eagles Landing Family Practice “Family Values Award” ($1,000.00 scholarships)

- Madeline Crawford – Ola

- Antaures Jackson – Eagles Landing

Lutzie 43 Foundation Scholarship ($4,300.00 scholarship)

- Zachary Garcia – Calvary Christian School

USTA Southern Region Scholarships ($1,000.00 scholarships)

- Anish Bikmal - South Forsyth

- Jalicia McRae - Girls Tennis

NorthStar Church (Kennesaw) “Community Impact” Awards ($1,000.00 scholarships)

- Ellen Conley – Allatoona

- Kayla Mann – Woodstock

Forsyth Slugfest Scholarship

- Carter Martin – Forsyth Central

“The most successful businessmen and women are positive individuals, so we’re using sports to help instill those characteristics at a young age”, said Scott Pederson, president of Positive Athlete Georgia.” Positivity is a life skill that will help any young person deal with relationships, obstacles and opportunities”.

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