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Avant awarded Callahan scholarship

Ally Avant has been a fixture of Water Valley athletics for four years. Whether it has been on the basketball court, softball field or running in cross-country, she has been a standout for the Blue Devils.

Now her accomplishments inside the classroom have been noticed as well as Avant was recenlty awarded the Lindsey Callahan Scholar-Athlete Award by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

The $1,500 scholarship is awarded to 16 scholar-athletes in eight geographical regions across the state. A male and female athlete are chosen from each region, and Avant was the female athlete selected in Region 2. She was awarded the scholarship at a banquet held at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson on April 4.

“It is a very big deal to me,” Avant said. “I’m very honored to accept it. It not only reflects my hard work but also the time, support and knowledge that my teachers have poured into me. I think there are a lot of hard-working teachers at our schools, and I’m glad that reflects so positively on them.”

The process consists of an student-athlete being nominated by their school’s administration and, from there, a letter of recommendation from a teacher, coach and the principal of the school. Avant had to write an essay as part of the application process as well.

Water Valley girls basketball coach Jason Purdy wrote the coach’s recommendation letter while Career and Technical teacher Keli Lindsay wrote a letter from the academic viewpoint. Avant asked Purdy to come with her to the 21st annual banquet where she received the scholarship.

“I thought it was a great honor that she had chosen me,” Purdy said. “She’s been a big part of our success both as an athlete and as a leader of the team. She has set the example for some of the younger athletes to follow.”

Splitting responsibilities
On top of being a successful athlete for Water Valley, Avant has also excelled in her studies as the senior is contending to be the school’s valedictorian for this year. She is wanting to pursue a political science major at Ole Miss and eventually head to law school then start her career as an adoption attorney.

Her path has already gotten off to a good start as Avant has been awarded other scholarships such as the Women’s Council Scholarship as well as being selected for Sally Barksdale Honors College. With a little more than a month left in her high school career, Avant has had to balance time as an athlete as well as a student to make sure she finishes with the success she wants to in the classroom.

“It’s definitely difficult to balance the time,” Avant said. “It gets a little difficult at times, but I always make sure my grades are my priority and I make sure I finish my schoolwork before I allow myself to do anything else. I think that’s what helps balance everything out as well as helpful parents that are willing to get everything done.”
Avant helped the softball team take a 1-0 lead in its MHSAA Class 3A first-round playoff series against Hatley on Friday.