By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published June 19, 2008
The finalists for the first Vincent J. Dooley Awards and Scholarships were announced by Athletes for a Better World (ABW) and the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) in early April.
The awards are presented to one male and one female senior athlete from every Georgia high school who “exemplifies distinguished individual character, outstanding teamwork and citizenship in their communities.” In December of 2007 athletic directors from approximately 125 schools across the state nominated student athletes from their school. Eventually the awards and scholarships selection committee cut the list down to 10 boys and 10 girls. The list of finalists included the following students:
Taylor Bradberry – Winder-Barrow High School, Winder
Winston Gandy – The Lovett School, Atlanta
David Liddle – North Oconee High School, Bogart
Robby Ostrowski – The Westminster School, Atlanta
Colin Patrick – Norcross High School, Norcross
Juan Pickett – Shaw High School, Columbus
Cale Roberts – Johnson County High School, Wrightsville
Donald Rucker – Cartersville High School, Cartersville
Ryan Smith – Parkview High School, Lilburn
Adam Turner – West Hall High School, Oakwood
Christine Castek – Centennial High School, Roswell
Angelique Jackson – Camden County High School, Kingsland
Caitlyn Moyer – Central Gwinnett High School, Lawrenceville
Kimberly Nash – Wayne County High School, Jesup
Chantelle Quintana – Shaw High School, Columbus
BreAnna Sinclair – Pierce County High School, Blackshear
Samantha Smith – Whitewater High School, Fayetteville
Savannah Spivey – Bleckley County High School, Cochran
Kaley Sullivan – Union County High School, Blairsville
LaToya Tufts – Vidalia High School, Vidalia
Among this group of students were four area Catholics: David Liddle of the University of Georgia Catholic Center, Athens; Robby Ostrowski of Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta; Colin Patrick of All Saints Church, Dunwoody; and Ryan Smith of St. Stephen the Martyr Church, Lilburn.
All the Dooley Award recipients gathered during a luncheon prior to the April 20 Atlanta Braves game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the luncheon College Football Hall of Fame Coach Vince Dooley announced the scholarship recipients: LaToya Tufts of Vidalia High School, Vidalia, and Robby Ostrowski of The Westminster School, Atlanta. The scholarship is provided by Champion Windows and Patio Rooms.
Tufts and Ostrowski were each awarded a four-year, $1,000 per year scholarship, plus an additional $1,000 to present to the charity of their choice. Tufts split her $1,000 between the Solomon Tabernacle Food Bank and Hand to Hand, Heart to Heart, both in Vidalia. Ostrowski donated $500 to Heart of Hope, an academy for mentally handicapped children where he has volunteered once a week for the past two years. The other $500 was given to the Grameen Foundation, an organization that provides microloans to impoverished people across the world to support income-generating businesses.
As a varsity tennis player Ostrowski compiled a record of 70-3 over the past four years and was undefeated over the past two years. His school’s tennis team has won the Class AAA State Championship all four years he played. Ostrowski was equally outstanding as a student, and he was recently selected as a Presidential Scholar for Georgia (each state selects one male and one female for this national honor). For that recognition he will have the opportunity to meet President Bush next week. As a member of Holy Spirit Church, Ostrowski serves as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion (eucharistic minister), head elite altar server, and a Sunday school teacher.
Tufts, a softball and track athlete, will attend Georgetown University, and Ostrowski will attend Princeton University.
The other Catholic finalists, Liddle, Patrick and Smith, will attend the University of Georgia, the United States Military Academy at West Point and Harvard University, respectively.
Fred Northup, ABW president, founded the organization in 1998 with the challenge to change the culture of sports in America with a creative vision to articulate the positive values that have historically been the foundation of good sportsmanship and good citizenship.
ABW presents a college award each year called the Wooden Cup, named after legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. This year the organization made the decision to present a similar award at the high school level, named in honor of ABW board member Dooley.
In stating the Dooley award’s purpose Northup said, “It serves to recognize outstanding individuals and call attention to the high esteem in which these values are held, so that they may become a stronger part of the ethos of participation in Georgia high school sports.”