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Outstanding Character Lands West Carroll Students Coveted Award


January 29, 2024 - Recognizing their exceptional character, two student-athletes from West Carroll High School, Ninth grader Zac Fowler and twelfth grader Joe Vermillion, have been presented with the coveted NFHS Student-Athlete Award of Excellence. This honor, granted jointly by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), shines a light on the exemplary acts of character and sportsmanship by students participating in school-based educational athletics.

Zac Fowler displayed tremendous community devotion when he voluntarily gave up a day of his fall break to come to the school campus and pick up litter. Without being asked and receiving no compensation, he spent hours cleaning up trash in the parking lots and surrounding grounds. Zac has also frequently stayed late after his own football team’s practices to assist the baseball coach with field preparations like edging the baselines - tasks that are undoubtedly tiring after intense training sessions.

Meanwhile, senior Joe Vermillion has become known as the most unselfish student his coaches have even seen. On the football team, Joe takes it upon himself to complete thankless jobs like hauling equipment, tidying up, and setting up for practice when nothing is required of him. He even proactively asks the coaches if there is anything more he can do to help before leaving each day.

These students’ actions embody the essence of servant leadership, the very trait that West Carroll High School endeavors to instill in its students. This sort of engaged and considerate behavior sets a strong example for the rest of the student body to emulate.

Zac and Joe are shining examples that success involves much more than winning games or scoring points; it’s about character and the values we bring into the game. This kind of sportsmanship and character should be at the heart of all school-based athletics, with students seizing the privilege to make their schools and communities a better place. We cheer them on, hoping their stories encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

Nominate a student in your school today! Please use the form linked below to share a story about a student-athlete you know who has demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship, integrity, and ethics. If you have any questions about the award or the nomination process, please contact Courtney Brunetz (cbrunetz@tssaa.org).

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