When Sarah Beth McAvoy began to anticipate her approaching birthday on Oct. 3, she had no idea what she would receive as an early present.
Last week the senior outfielder for the Thomson High School softball team received something she couldn't unwrap, statewide recognition.
Scott Kozlowski presents the award to Sarah Beth McAvoy.
A crew from Georgia Prep Sports Plus, a show about high school sports on Georgia Public Broadcasting, came to THS to film Sarah Beth at work, on and off the field. She is the recipient of the show's Scholar Athlete of the Week award.
"I was surprised, just real honored to be chosen for something like this," Sarah Beth said.
According to Scott Kozlowski, the reporter who came to interview Sarah Beth, the show's producers chose her because of her hard work in the classroom and on the softball field. Sarah Beth has played for the Lady Bulldogs three years while maintaining a 96 average.
Mr. Kozlowski said Sarah Beth's combination of brains, athletic ability and self assurance put her at the top of the list for the award. He added that she was one of the most deserving recipients he had seen.
"I try to joke around with the kids when I get here because a lot of times they're uptight or nervous," Mr. Kozlowski said. "When I first met her, I made a joke. She made a joke back which is very rare that she felt outgoing enough, and she got that I was kidding."
Sarah Beth's leadership skills will be missed next year, according to Lady Bulldogs Coach Lisa Cody.
"On the field, her defensive ability, I never have to worry about her being in the right place at the right time," Coach Cody said. "She's an awesome leader and an inspiration, especially for the younger kids."
Currently the student council co-president, Sarah Beth is involved in many activities at THS. But right now she's thankful for the award and a little nervous about watching herself of television. She hopes the recognition will give her teammates a boost toward the playoffs.
"It will make me try especially hard just to live up to this," she said. "We've gone through a lot together, and we've all grown as a team. And I think that has helped me become a better person and a better player."
The piece about Sarah Beth will air on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m., on Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.