Hannah Pereda, a senior star softball player and equally talented in the classroom, recently was honored by WJBF-TV in Augusta as the Scholar/Athlete of The Week .
The dautghter of John and Ann Pereda, of Pea Ridge, a small community in McDuffie County, she was nominated for the honor because of her outstanding achievements in the classroom, as well as on the softball field where she played starting catcher. Pereda helped the Lady Bulldogs of Thomson High School get to the Elite Eight in the Georgia Class AAA state playoffs this past season.
"It was a great honor," said Hannah of the recognition she received from the television station and the sponsors of the special program that salutes scholar/athletes in the Central Savannah River Area. "It couldn't have happened without Mama pushing me."
A veteran Science teacher at Thomson High, Mrs. Pereda always has pushed her daughters, Hannah and Sarah to do their best in the classroom, as well with extra curricular activities. Hannah chose softball, while Sarah is talented as a cheerleader.
Hannah, an A student, said her mother would never settle for her making a B when she knew that she could make an A in the classroom.
"Bs are not accepted -- that's a Mama rule," said Hannah during an interview last Friday. Hannah explained that her mother's father, the late Leonard McNeal always had instilled in Mrs. Pereda the importance of doing her best in the classroom.
"It's a carry-over to us as her children," said Hannah.
Her father, meanwhile, who is a karate instructor at Y-130 in Thomson, "is simply my support system," she said. "Daddy is an excellent listner. He lets me vent when I need to and tells me it's going to be O.K."
Hannah appeared on television last Thursday and Friday.
"It was a very nice surprise to be on television," added Hannah.
The senior, who is preparing to graduate soon, said she believes it's time to start a new adventure in her life.
"I'm ready to be on my own and to start making my own choices," said Hannah, who has worked a job since she was in the seventh grade.
Her first job was exercising horses at Foxboro near Thomson.
"That job was so much fun," said Hannah.
She now works at McDuffie Animal Hospital and before going there about a year ago worked some at Cato's in Thomson.
"I love being around the animals and helping nurse them back to good health," said Hannah, who aspires to become a veterinarian one day.
After graduation from THS, Hannah said she will attend Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College in Tifton, Ga. for two years before transferring to the University of Georgia in Athens. She plans to major in Animal Science.
Her aim in life is to achieve whatever goal lies ahead of her.
"I will never settle for less," said Hannah. "There's always room for improvement."
Because softball has been so much a part of her life, she's discovered a way of giving back to local youngsters by serving as a volunteer coach with a 10 and under girls' softball team known as The Heat.
"It's so much fun coaching this group of girls," said Hannah, who is being assisted by her best friend, Amber Overton, a former softball star pitcher at Thomson High.
Now that she no longer is playing softball, Hannah says coaching softball is "my fix."