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Center Point recognizes Hall County's top student leaders
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Center Point’s Prevention Coordinator Judy Brownell presents the Leadership Awards on Tuesday to Alaina Holeman, Bailey Armour, Triston Cantrell and Triston Wimpye at the nonprofit’s annual Honors Night at First Baptist Church in Gainesville. - photo by Kristen Oliver

Award winners
Mentor of the Year Award and Pat Burd Community Commitment Award: Penny Hawkins, Hall County Schools employee
Freshman honor student: Donald Padilla
Sophomore honor student: Yesenia Ramirez
Junior honor student award: Anna Cox
Senior honor student award: Caroline Watts
Integrity Award (includes $250 fellowship): Byron Mosley
Curt Severson Scholarship ($1,000): Watts
Leadership Award: Bailey Armour, Triston Cantrell, Alaina Holeman, Triston Wimpye
Margaret K. Braff Service in Action Award ($1,000 scholarship): Cantrell, Holeman
All About Change Scholarship and Award ($1,000): Armour, Wimpye

Center Point, a Gainesville-based student- and family-centered nonprofit, hosted its annual Honors Night at First Baptist Church in Gainesville, and the event recognized students and mentors in the community.

“Our partnerships have been so significant for Center Point through the years and as we are evolving,” said Brad Patten, board chairman. “Hall County Schools and the city schools are vital. It’s where we provide a lot of our services and they provide for us. It’s an incredible partnership.”

The annual Mentor of the Year Award and the Pat Burd Community Commitment Award both went to a Hall County Schools employee.

“Penny Hawkins and myself are originals to the mentor program,” said David Smith, executive director of Center Point. “We have been at this for 20 years.”

Smith said Hawkins was worthy of the two awards because of her commitment and work for young people in the community.

Awards were also presented to students for their excellence in religious education.

Center Point was initially the brainchild of several area churches that hoped to see religious education courses offered to students in public schools off-site for class credit.

Today, David Callaway is director of religious education, which includes literature and history of the Old and New Testament, world religions, two ethics courses and an independent study of Greece.

“I have never felt as rewarded and as blessed to be at a place as I am at Center Point,” Callaway said.

Callaway presented the sophomore honor student award to Yesenia Ramirez, the junior honor student award to Anna Cox and the senior honor student award to Caroline Watts. Donald Padilla received the freshman honor student award, though he could not be present.

Callaway also presented the Integrity Award to Byron Mosley.

“We all know integrity is about that kind of moral character or moral center, someone who exudes an ethicalness, and that is absolutely true of Byron,” Callaway said.

Mosley was also presented a fellowship for $250 with the Integrity Award, and Watts was presented the Curt Severson Scholarship for $1,000. She plans to attend Auburn University in the fall and hopes to one day do missions abroad.

Finally, Prevention Coordinator Judy Brownell presented awards to her students in Center Point’s prevention program, Students Putting Extra Emphasis on Decisions. She showed a video of students in the program discussing the declining rates of teenagers consuming alcohol or abusing drugs.

“SPEED is a club dedicated to lowering drug and alcohol abuse in teens in Hall County,” said student Bailey Armour. “... I have been able to participate in SPEED for three years, and it has meant so much to me.”

Armour was one of four seniors including Triston Cantrell, Triston Wimpye and Alaina Holeman who make up the SPEED executive committee, and they each received the annual Leadership Award.

Cantrell and Holeman received the Margaret K. Braff Service in Action Award and $1,000 scholarship. They both plan to study performing arts in college. Wimpye and Armour also received $1,000 scholarships for the All About Change Scholarship and Award. Wimpye hopes to attend Baylor University, and Armour plans to attend the University of Kentucky.

Patten commended the students for their excellence.

“Every time I am involved in something with Center Point, it gives me such joy to see what wonderful people we have in our community and the servants we have,” he said.

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