Science & Math produced the winners of the Durham Sports Club annual scholar athlete awards which were presented on Wednesday night at Croasdaile Country Club. Rachel Ruderman and Lawton Ives took the top honors.
Ruderman received the Mildred Barnes Scholar Athlete Award, while Ives was presented the Harold Strawbridge Scholar Athlete award. Both awards were accompanied by a $2,000 scholarship.
Riverside's Kate Ballard and Northern's Carl Fowler also received awards and scholarships of $1,000 each. Those awards were renamed the "Blunt-Bradshaw Sports Legends of Durham Scholarship" this year in honor of Durham sports legends Willie Bradshaw and Russell Blunt.
Ruderman, who initially attended Jordan, played basketball and ran track during her four years of high school, including the last two at Science & Math. She will attend Amherst College in the fall.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Herald Sun
"I am really grateful and surprised," Ruderman said. "There were a lot of other qualified and impressive nominees. I hope this will give me the opportunity to play sports at Amherst.
"I loved Jordan and I loved Science & Math. It was very competitive athletically at Jordan and I am glad I was able to get my feet wet there and then to have the opportunity to continue playing at Science & Math."
Ruderman was able to surpass the 1,000-point career plateau by finishing out her basketball career with the Unicorns.
Ives, who attended East Chapel Hill before being accepted at Science & Math, was a runner and a swimmer for the Unicorns, serving as team captain of the cross country team as a junior and senior. He will attend UNC in the fall.
"I was really surprised and it is a great honor," Ives said. "When they were reading out everybody's accomplishments, I was really amazed by all the other accomplishments by the other nominees. It's great that the Durham Sports Club supports high school sports like they do.
"Science & Math was a fantastic experience. I knew I was going to have great teachers but I was amazed by the all the great extracurricular opportunities and also the chance to continue playing varsity sports. There is really a great sports program and I was really fortunate to be part of a state championship team in cross country last year as a junior."
Mick Mixon, who is the play-by-voice of the Carolina Panthers, was the key note speaker. He offered his thoughts on navigating life in college and beyond in a talk he called "Mick's Rules for Health, Happiness and Success in Life."
Mixon mixed in examples from his own collegiate experience at North Carolina and brought laughs to the room on several occasions with some self-deprecating humor. He also asked the honorees to take their educational opportunities seriously as they prepare to embark on their college journeys.
Jon Fletcher, the club's public relations chairman, served as master of ceremonies and provided brief biographies of each of the honorees from the nine high schools in Durham who were nominated by their school's athletics directors.
Durham County Athletics Director Larry McDonald also spoke briefly, offering his congratulations to all the student-athletes and reminding them to thank their parents for all the sacrifices they made for them to play sports.
The club also provided grants to each school.
Durham Sports Club Scholar Athletes
Durham Academy—Grace Drewry, Matt Tucker
Durham School of the Arts—Anaia Brewster, Bennett, Congdon
Hillside—Alexandra Simpson, Olisaemeka Udemadu
Jordan—Irene Zhang, Wil Hoyle
Northern—Abby Jennetta, Carl Fowler
Riverside—Kate Ballard, Joseph Heflin
Science & Math—Rachel Ruderman, Lawton Ives
Southern—Nzia Hall, Bobby Fuller
Voyager Academy—Mackenzie Allison, Brock Christensen