EMCC claims second Halbrook Award in four years for student-athlete academic excellence

Published 3:14 pm Friday, October 7, 2022

TUPELO — For the second time in four years, East Mississippi Community College has earned the David M. Halbrook Award for having a perfect 100 percent graduation rate among the school’s sophomore student-athletes during the 2021-22 academic year. The prestigious award was presented at the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities (MAC) business meeting, held this week in Tupelo.

Having previously garnered the coveted Halbrook Award during the 2018-19 academic year, this year’s EMCC contingent graduated all 62 of its second-year student-athletes in addition to having three completers during the 2021-22 academic year. The College’s 65 certified student-athletes consisted of 30 players from the Lions’ 2021 MACCC North Division championship football squad, 19 from baseball’s NJCAA Region 23 Tournament club, six from softball, and five each from women’s basketball and men’s basketball’s MACCC Tournament championship team. Rodeo was not included among the graduation statistics because the sport is not affiliated with the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC).

“Receiving the Halbrook Award is a wonderful recognition of the hard work and efforts of EMCC’s student-athletes,” EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks said. “This recognition represents the dedicated efforts of EMCC’s faculty, counselors and staff that work so diligently to ensure student success. We continue to take great pride in performing at a high level both in the classroom and during athletic competition. A special thanks also goes out to the Halbrook family for sanctioning these awards for community college students.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Established in 1984 and made possible through endowments from former Representative David M. Halbrook, of Belzoni, and his brothers, John C. and James G. Halbrook, of Belzoni, and J.A. Halbrook, of Beaumont, Texas, in honor of their parents, John C. and Ernestine McCall Halbrook, the Halbrook Awards program recognizes colleges and universities that achieve and maintain high academic standards for student-athletes while also encouraging high graduation rates.

“It is so amazing to see our student-athletes be rewarded for their dedication and commitment to their academic success,” said Sharon Thompson, EMCC’s Director of Athletics & Dean of Students/Scooba Campus. “Congratulations to our student-athletes and coaches for winning the prestigious David M. Halbrook Award. I would also like to express my gratitude to the entire EMCC family for investing in the academic success of our student-athletes. We are also very appreciative of the Halbrook family for their commitment to academics.”

This year marks the eighth time overall that East Mississippi Community College has received the Halbrook Award since the awards program was authorized in 1984. Prior to most recently claiming the honor for the 2018-19 (tied w/Copiah-Lincoln) and 2010-11 (tied w/Hinds) academic years, EMCC previously earned the recognition five times (1983-84, 1985-86, 1988-89, 1989-90 & 1992-93) during a 10-year span.

Along with EMCC earning this year’s David M. Halbrook Trophy Award for having the highest percentage of graduating student-athletes in the Community and Junior College Division, the University of Mississippi collected both the men’s and women’s awards for the Public University Division. Mississippi College grabbed top honors in the Independent College and University Division.

Individually for EMCC, Kaitlynn Stroud and Wesley Sides were the school’s respective female and male recipients of the 2021-22 David M. Halbrook Certificate for Academic Achievement among student-athletes in the community college division. From Enterprise, Stroud posted a 4.00 cumulative grade point average in nursing as a two-year softball player for the Lions. Sides, from Southaven, posted team-leading numbers with 13 home runs, 40 RBIs to go along with his club-best .346 batting average to pace the 28-19 Lions to their first NJCAA Region 23 Baseball Tournament appearance since 2015 and a third-place finish in the MACCC regular-season standings with a 20-8 conference record this past year. The DeSoto Central High School product is currently continuing his collegiate baseball career at Mississippi College.

During the 2021-22 academic year, East Mississippi Community College had a school-record 45 student-athletes garner national recognition for their academic excellence, including setting a new school standard with 17 student-athletes achieving perfect 4.00 grade point averages this past year. In addition, EMCC’s softball (3.70 GPA), baseball (3.53), women’s basketball (3.33) and football (3.00) teams all received NJCAA All-Academic Team recognition.