Lady Highlander Debi Meadows is the first female student athlete from First Presbyterian Christian Academy to receive a scholarship, sending her to Ohio in the fall to attend Tiffin University where she plans to study forensic science.
The multi-sport athlete is also the salutatorian for the school’s first graduating class, was last year’s student council vice president and this year’s president.
Meadows received Tiffin University’s President Scholarship for academic excellence and won a secondary scholarship for military children.
As a Lady Highlander, Meadows played volleyball, tennis and her favorite sport, soccer. On the field, she refined her aggressive defense skills but outside of athletics she is soft spoken.
"It feels pretty great," Meadows said of her opportunity to play at the next level. She said she’s heard a lot of good things about the Ohio campus and plans to visit the school June 12.
"I think it’s an excellent opportunity. She’ll do very well in it," Meadows’ mom Lt. Col. Valerie Meadows, 188th Infantry Brigade Operations Officer, said of her daughter’s plans to pursue a career in forensic science.
Meadows balanced her school work and athletics with an internship at the Frontline newspaper on Fort Stewart as a writer and photographer. She has contributed to the Coastal Courier as well.
"Debi is our first female athlete signing on to play soccer in college and we are very proud of this young lady," said Amy Swindell, FPCA’s head mistress. "Not only is she gifted athletically but academically as well. She is our salutatorian for our first graduating class and we could not have chosen a better person. She has excelled in her classes and has worked very hard. She is dedicated to what she does and I know she will do just fine in college."
"I’m very proud of her," father Robert Meadows said. "She has exceeded everything I’ve ever expected in both academics and athletics. She will succeed in whatever she chooses to do."
Meadows played for coach Tom Sukaratana for the Liberty County Recreation Department and the Hinesville Gators. She was a
Gator for seven years and even played for the boys’ 14U select team, which won the state championship when she was the with them. Playing for the 16U boys, Meadows helped the squad finish first in districts and make the state finals. She led the LCRD teams to numerous tournament championships. She played for a Florida squad last season and traveled to the Holland Cup where they won the 18U championship.
She ran cross country one year for Bradwell Institute, qualifying for the state meet, but soccer is her passion.
"She’s been playing soccer since she was a little kid and it’s great to see that all her hard work has worked out for her," her brother Richard said, admitting they’ve had more than one battle on the playground. "She is definitely good enough to play at the collegiate level."
"I’m very proud of her," Sukaratana said. "She’s always been a very strong player … she can handle it."