Autauga Academy’s Shackelford named Autauga County Leadership winner
By Tim Gayle
PRATTVILLE — When listening to the Christian Leadership Award winners from each of the seven Autauga County high schools, it was difficult to know if you fit in with the group. The awards were almost too numerous to mention, the cumulative grade-point average among the seven was a 4.02 and the servant skills displayed in church and in the community were impressive.
That was the thought entering Raegan Shackelford’s head just before she was named the recipient of the Willis Bradford Christian Leadership Award at the 29th annual Prattville YMCA-Fellowship of Christian Athletes awards banquet at the First United Methodist Church on Monday night.
“I was completely surprised,” she said. “I was hearing all of the other applicants’ resumes and all their accomplishments thinking, wow, OK, they’re pretty awesome. There’s no way. I heard their accomplishments and just thought they were just a step above. I’m just really honored the award was given to me.”
The Autauga Academy senior became the seventh recipient of the honor from the Alabama Independent School Association program to win the award and knew something about the meaning of the award because of the Generals’ first recipient in 1995.
“My cousin won it, Lee Carter, so I knew if he won it, it must be a pretty big honor,” she said. “It makes me feel really honored to be able to honor my parents like this and make them proud because that’s really what I’ve always strove to do.”
Shackelford plays soccer, basketball and volleyball for the Generals. She was named an AISA all-star in basketball after scoring her 1,000th point earlier this season and is captain of both the basketball and volleyball teams. A 4.0 student in the classroom, she is a member of the Student Government Association, Spanish Club, Art Club, national Beta Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
She attends Autaugaville United Methodist Church where she is a youth group member, sings in the choir and participates in mission trips, with the church’s drama team, with Samaritan’s Purse and with Vacation Bible School. She is the daughter of Rob and Nancy Shackelford and plans to attend Troy University this fall.
The banquet honored the top student-athletes from the county’s schools who have demonstrated Christian leadership in their school and community and included four Billingsley baseball players who arrived late after helping the Bears advance to the quarterfinals of the state baseball playoffs with a 10-6 win over Verbena an hour earlier.
Christian Leadership Award winner Dylan Chavers, the Bears’ first baseman, was honored along with Leadership Circle Award winners Kendall Elrod, Thomas Nichols and Landon Reed.
Shackelford and Chavers were among seven student-athletes selected by their respective schools for the Christian Leadership Award, with one winner selected for the Willis Bradford Award. The other winners were Alexandrea Goodson of Autaugaville; Gabriel Wurtz of Marbury; Lesley Cahoon of Prattville; Allison Drummonds of East Memorial Christian Academy; and Joy Bobo of Prattville Christian Academy.
The featured speaker was Rev. Randy Roberts, the chaplain for Auburn’s basketball team who also directs the campus ministry and the university’s FCA chapter. Roberts was a last-minute replacement for Auburn football player Jonathan Wallace, who wasn’t permitted to attend after an interpretation of NCAA rules.
Roberts spoke on Moses and the Burning Bush, quoting from Exodus 3, chapters 1-9, to urge the student-athletes to strengthen their ties with God to learn the “big picture.”
“I challenge all you young folks in the room … to consider engaging God,” he said. “Our relationship with God impacts every relationship in our life.”
Bradford presented the T.O. McDowell Christian Leadership Award to David A. McDowell II, a senior at Prattville Christian Academy who plays soccer, football and golf at the school. McDowell will be attending the University of Alabama this fall as a Presidential Scholarship winner.
Each school also selected five student-athletes to receive the FCA Leadership Circle Award. Those recipients included Derrius Carroll, Kierra Davis, Porschez Jackson, Almonte’ Phillips and Jaila Rhodes of Autaugaville; Elrod, Ryan Nelson, Nichols, Joseph Nixon and Reed of Billingsley; Landon Harley-Wright, Hannah Lovvorn, Jonathon Lunsford, Allison Wetherill and Caleb Winningham of Marbury; Madeline Burton, Michael Fennell, Kori Frye, Ashtin Morris and T.J. Thomas of Prattville; Kyle Chandler, Macie Lee, Austin Moorer, John Michael Sweatt and Dan Wendland of Autauga Academy; Jacob Boatner, Patrick Easley, Hannah Kauffman, Haley Skipworth and Aaron Watkins of East Memorial; and Lauren Crosby, Adler Hulsey, Tyler Jorgensen, Austin McCawley and Madison Thompson of Prattville Christian.