Long County senior Harley Dawson recently learned that she had been selected as a finalist for the Vince Dooley Athletes for a Better World Scholarship.
Students from all over the state applied for the award. Dawson is one of the final 10 still in contention to win the $4,000 prize.
To be eligible for the award, a student must excel at sports, academics and civic responsibility. Dawson was nominated for the scholarship by LCHS athletic director Karen Swindell.
“Harley’s greatest attribute is her character, her integrity and her moral values, which are impeccable,” Swindell said. “She is one student who goes above and beyond for others while excelling both academically and athletically.”
Dawson has played both soccer and softball for all four years of her high school career. As a member of the Lady Tide softball team, she has been the primary pitcher since she was a freshman. She has been named to the 2-AA All-Region Team every year, and in January she learned that she had been named as a member of the AA All-State Team. She also has a signed a full scholarship to play softball for South Georgia State College.
Long County softball head coach Brian Thomas said Dawson is the best softball player he has ever coached.
“Harley Dawson has been a once-in-a-lifetime player for me,” he said. “She is the most talented player that I have ever coached, and she is the most committed player that I have ever coached. Harley has been such a great influence on her team that replacing her will be extremely difficult. I will always be grateful for her positive influence in my life and her teammates’ lives.”
Soccer head coach Sabrina Caines also had nothing but praise for Dawson both on the field and in the classroom.
‘Her work ethic is outstanding,” Caines said. “She rises to the occasion and is always at her best. In my seven years in the classroom, I can definitely say that Harley truly stands out as one of the most intelligent and most dedicated students I have ever taught.”
Though Dawson excels in athletics and academics, she also is civic-minded and believes that being a good citizen is as important as being a good athlete. She volunteers at coaching younger girls in softball.
“It brightens my day to be able to work with children and teens, teaching them the game of softball that I so passionately love,” she said.
On May 7, Dawson will attend a banquet in Atlanta to see if she is the winner of the scholarship. If she wins, the award will pay her $4,000 during her four years in college.
Swindell said she hopes Dawson wins the scholarship, but even if she doesn’t, Swindell said she knows Dawson will go on to achieve great things.
“It has been a pleasure watching Harley as she has matured into a fine young lady and model athlete,” Swindell said.