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Christian schools' top scholars, musicians named

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
WINDERMERE, Fla. (BP)--Fifty-six high school seniors from the class of 2011, enrolled in 19 schools affiliated with the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools, were selected to compete in a national awards program for their outstanding scholarship and/or musical achievements.

Out of the 56 finalists, nine shared the spotlight as national or regional contest winners, dividing $6,000 in college grants, $1,000 to each of the three national winners and $500 to each of the six regional winners.

The funds will be distributed this summer to the colleges of their choice. Scholarship winners' schools also received awards of $250 and $100 for each winner they nominated.

National Scholars winners ($1,000) were Michael Hunter Cochran of Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Ark., and Thomas Gordon Payne of North Raleigh Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C.

Regional Scholars winners ($500) were Daniel E. Fox of Whitesburg Christian Academy in Huntsville, Ala.; Justin Daniel Erman of Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater, Fla.; Hardeman Grant Tucker of Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas; and Kathryn Nicole McCullough of Spartanburg Christian Academy in Spartanburg, N.C.

The National Musicians winner ($1,000) was Cesar A. Palacio of Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, and Regional Musicians winners ($500) were Shelby Holling Guy of High Point Christian Academy in High Point, N.C., and Michael Raymond Scanlan of North Raleigh Christian Academy in Raleigh.

Each fall, SBACS member schools nominate candidates in two groups, scholars and musicians.

The B.R. Chamberlain Foundation Outstanding SBACS Awards Program, funded by the B.R. Chamberlain Foundation for Public Enrichment in Orlando, Fla., awards two national scholar winners $1,000 each and four regional winners $500 each. Six Christian school students were selected as 2011 scholarship winners from a field of 45 finalists from eight states. To compete for the award, seniors must:


-- score at least a 1250 on SAT (combined verbal and math score) or 28 on ACT.

-- have at least a 3.5 non-weighted cumulative GPA.

-- have the testimony of their faculty to their good character, service and leadership within their schools, churches and communities.

The John R. Chandler Outstanding SBACS Musicians Contest awards one national winner $1,000 and two regional winners $500 each. The scholarship program is named for the first executive director of SBACS in honor of his support for Christian schooling and lifelong involvement in music ministry.

Three Christian school seniors were selected as 2011 musician winners from a field of 11 finalists from five states. To compete for the award, seniors must:

-- have at least a 3.0 non-weighted cumulative GPA.

-- be highly involved in music and show a superior level of vocal or instrumental skill.

-- demonstrate an active faith in Christ.

-- audition by CD.

-- receive recommendations from music directors and teachers indicating good character, service and leadership within their schools, churches and communities.

Nominees must then complete an application process to compete for the scholarships. Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements become finalists. In the spring, a panel of judges chooses the winners in each of the two categories.

The purpose of the B.R. Chamberlain Foundation Outstanding SBACS Scholars Contest and the John R. Chandler Outstanding SBACS Musicians Contest is to recognize students in Southern Baptist Christian schools across the nation for exemplary accomplishments in scholastics or music, Christian character and service to others.


SBACS maintains a database of more than 700 Christian schools affiliated with Southern Baptist churches, associations or conventions around the nation, 200 of which have high schools.

This is the 10th year that the scholar/musician contests have been funded by the Chamberlain foundation.

Edward E. Gamble, executive director of SBACS, noted, "Through their generous commitment, the B.R. Chamberlain Foundation has provided scholarship funding for SBACS member school students throughout the United States and abroad to receive help with the cost of higher education. Our hope is that other individuals and foundations will be encouraged to contribute to this fund as well."

Based on a report by the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools, on the Web at

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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