November 3, 2009 3:55:00 PM
Madison Ford''s busy schedule is making national news.
The Heritage Academy senior learned a few weeks ago from classmate Morgan Lamb that she is one of 20 of scholar-athletes from the state of Mississippi who is a finalist for the 2009 Wendy''s High School Heisman Award program.
More than 50,000 seniors applied nationwide and from that group, 10,848 school winners were selected. The 20 Mississippi state finalists were chosen from these winners.
"I was excited and really honored because I had a lot of competition from in this school, so it was a big honor for me," Ford said.
The Wendy''s High School Heisman, now in its 16th year, is one of the most prestigious awards at the high school level. It recognizes student-athletes who epitomize the Heisman spirit of hard work and dedication through their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics, and community/school leadership.
On Saturday, one male and one female from Mississippi will be named state winners. They will then compete for the national honor Dec. 11 in New York City. National finalists will be featured in a televised ceremony on ESPN2, and will receive a gold medal and $2,000 award for their high schools.
Ford is a member of Heritage Academy''s fast-pitch softball team, its girls basketball team, and its track and field team. She also has competed on the school''s swimming team.
Ford, who has a grade-point average of 3.8 or 3.9, stays busy when she is off the field, too. She is president of the student government association, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the social club for the senior girls. She also is a member of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club.
"I can''t stand being bored and sitting around wasting my time," Ford said. "It is hard (to find time for everything), especially with schoolwork and tests and church and family. I have to try to keep my priorities in line. My family supports me in everything I do."
One male and one female national winner will receive a Wendy''s High School Heisman trophy and Wendy''s will donate $10,000 to each winner''s respective high school. The winners also will be recognized Dec. 12 on the collegiate Heisman Trophy broadcast on ESPN.
Heritage Academy Athletic Director Bruce Allsup, who coaches Ford on the school''s girls basketball team, said Ford knows how to manage her time and to handle all of her responsibilities.
"Madison is a young lady we all would like our kids to model themselves after," Allsup said. "She is a very productive student in the school, she has great grades, she is a leader in the school, and she goes out of her way to help younger kids. She also is a tremendous basketball player. She strives to be the best she can be in every aspect of her life. I think that is why she has gotten this far in this Wendy''s deal because they realize how much potential she has."
Other finalists from the state are: Bayou Academy''s Caitlin Adams, Copiah Academy''s Benjamin Boone, Florence High School''s Richard Wilson, Horn Lake High''s Kristen Baddley, Jackson Academy''s Patrick Worley, Kossuth High''s James Slater Smith, Laurel Christian High''s Steven Morgan, Madison-Ridgeland High''s Brandon Self, North Forrest High''s Brionee Mitchell, Oxford High''s Alexander Mullen, Presbyterian Christian''s Katye Magee, Presbyterian Christian''s Brett Doleac, Saint Joseph''s Michael Curry, The Veritas School''s Clara Gardner, Veritas'' Mathias Dryden, Tremont High''s Kaitlyn Booth, Trinity Episcopal Day School''s Jheri Ogden, Warren Central High''s Condrea Collins, and Winston Academy''s Raychal Reed.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.