No matter how good the company, the food or the guest speaker, the collection of athletes always steals the show at the Red Haven Memorial Award luncheon.

That was also the case on Tuesday when Alexandria’s Bethany Brisco became the 38th recipient of the award during ceremonies held by the Anderson Noon Exchange Club at the Anderson Holiday Inn. n Brisco became the eighth athlete to be honored from Alexandria and the first since Daniel Lustig in 1999.

She is the daughter of Curt and Gina Brisco and is first in her class of 111 students. She will be her class valedictorian and has earned a 4.0 G.P.A.

Gina Brisco was visibly moved nearly to tears during the reading of her daughter’s accomplishments and again when it was announced that Bethany was the Red Haven winner.

“I’m her oldest so she’s going through this for the first time,” said Bethany. “She gets very emotional because she’s so proud of me.”

Bethany is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, school winner of the American Mathematics Competition, Round One winner of Project XL, Calculus Club, Spanish Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Still she wasn’t sure she measured up to the other nominees.

“I felt honored just to be picked from my school,” said Bethany. “I know a lot of these other nominees from losing out to them for other scholarships. I didn’t think I was any better than any of them. I still don’t. People look for different things in other people. Fortunately for me people on the committee saw something in me that they liked.”

It certainly could have been her athletic accomplishments.

She has earned a total of 11 varsity letters, four in golf, four in track and three in basketball. For her achievements in golf, she was named All Central Indiana Conference two years, and All County two years. In track, she was named Most Valuable Player and received the 2005 Athlete of Character Award. She served as team captain this past year for both the golf and basketball teams.

She holds the track record for pole-vault and golf team record for both nine and 18 holes. She was part of the 2005 County Golf Championship and the 2005 Conference Golf Championship teams.

“Finding time for athletics is especially hard,” said Bethany. “I have to prioritize everything. I have to know each day what I’m doing and when.”

She served in the Youth Leadership Academy of Madison County, was a Hoosier Girls State participant, Air Force Academy participant, Evan Bayh Leadership Summit participant, board member of the Alexandria Community Center, and worked at Gaither Management Group in Alexandria.

She also volunteers in the Big Sister Program, has been a Special Olympics volunteer, participated in After School Fun programs of underprivileged children, Relay for Life, quilting class instructor for youth and a youth basketball coach.

Bethany plans to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and pursue a major in mechanical engineering.

The other nominees were: Caleb Dunnichay (Elwood), Chase Carroll (Highland), Brittany Hughes (Liberty Christian), Wesley Hoffman (Anderson), Kayla Powell (Frankton), Kly Holsinger (Lapel) and Allison Clarke (Pendleton Heights).

The featured speaker was Dr. James Edwards, president of Anderson University.

“It is special to be nominated for an award that the community cares about like this one,” said Edwards. “But the payoff is to sit at a table across from one of these outstanding people and be able to say ‘I had something to do with some of the decisions they’ve made in their lives.’”

Edwards spoke about the quality of the nominees’ lives up to this point, but he also encouraged them by saying, “Don’t make this the greatest thing you ever do, but make it a part of your journey.”

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