TORI J. NORRIS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
Madison Ann Gaston and Ezekiel Powell were named the recipients of the 2017 Achiever Award at the 20th Achiever Award banquet on Thursday.
Madison Ann, a senior at Fort Dale Academy, is the daughter of Mason and Cindy Gaston, She was a four sport athlete for the last three years, lettering in basketball, tennis, track, and cheerleading. She was selected as an AISA All-Start Cheerleader, UCA All-American Cheerleader, AISA State All-Tournament Basketball Team, and the AISA All-Star Basketball Team. Her athletic honors also include being the #1 seed on the FDA tennis team, the #4 seed state runner-up, Varsity Cheer Captain, and the Varsity Basketball MVP and Captain, and Coach’s Award. Madison Ann is the Distinguished Young Woman for Butler County and is Fort Dale’s Valedictorian this year. She is also involved in SGA, Key Club, Math Team, ECHO, FACTS, and National Honor Society, among many other activities. She is a Camellia Girl, an Eagle Rep, and is a member of First Presbyterian Church, where she is active in the youth group.
Georgiana senior, Ezekiel Powell is the son of Ezell and Candace Powell. He played football all four years, and earned the highest GPA on the team for all four seasons. He also played basketball and baseball his freshman, sophomore and junior years. His talent on the football field yielded him full football scholarship offers from the University of South Alabama, Troy University, Jacksonville State University and Georgia State University. He was also chosen as a member of the 1A First Team All-State Football team. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and is the top 10 of his graduating class. Ezekiel is a Youth Fishing Day volunteer, served as a host at the 2017 Georgiana Unity Dinner, and has helped with the Georgiana Community Improvement Association. He is a member of the Long Creek Missionary Baptist Church, where he serves as a Drill Team member and as an audio & video technician.
Auburn Defensive Coordinator, Kevin Steele addressed those in attendance at the banquet and told them to “Fly your plane.”
“My wife’s uncle was a Prisoner of War in Vietnam for six years, eight months and twenty-eight days,” said Steele. “He told me that he was so focused on his wingman’s plane getting shot down, that he got shot down as well.”
“This mirrors what life is about and being a champion is about,” said Steele. “Distractions pull you down. My number one job is not trying to figure out how to beat LSU, but it is to help 18 to 22 year old males eliminate distractions from their life. You can’t win championships until you are a champion yourself, in academics, sports and anything you do.”
Both Gaston and Powell received $3,000 scholarships. Gaston will be attending Auburn University and Powell will be attending the University of South Alabama.