UWA football signs 25 for National Signing Day

Coming off a Gulf South Conference championship in 2017 and a trip to the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs, Coach Brett Gilliland and his staff received signatures from 25 football players Wednesday.

Fourteen offensive players were added to the fold, along with nine defenders, a kicker/punter and an athlete. The Tigers signed six wide receivers, five offensive linemen, five defensive backs, two defensive linemen and two linebackers. UWA inked one player each at running back, fullback, athlete, kicker/punter and quarterback.

“It’s a great day to be a Tiger as we have reloaded our roster with some great young men,” Gilliland, the 2017 GSC coach of the year said. “Our staff has worked tirelessly in order to put together a signing class that fits specific needs on our roster and includes young men who will fit within the culture of our program.

“These young men will be a great addition to our returning players and we look forward to working toward the fall,” Gilliland said.

The Tigers open the 2018 season with three straight home games, beginning Thursday, Aug. 30 against Lenoir-Rhyne. Miles College and Valdosta State round out the homestand to open the season.

Spring drills for the Tigers are expected to begin Feb. 22.

Following brief thumbnail sketches on the February signees, followed by the mid-year signees:

2018 West Alabama Football February Signees

McKane Atkins, DL, 6-3, 217, Beauregard High School, Opelika, Ala.
Recorded 84 total tackles, 25 solo … Helped lead BHS to 10-2 record … Had six sacks, a caused fumble and recovered two fumbles … Helped lead BHS to Class 5A state championship … Also participated in track and field in 100m, 200m, javelin and long jump.

Sam Armstrong, OL, 6-7, 270, Lawrence County High School, Courtland, Ala.
Multi-year starter … Helped pave the way for LCHS for three straight postseason appearances … All-region and all-area selection.

Jared Averette, OL, 6-4, 315, Bibb County High School, Centreville, Ala.
Helped lead Bibb County High to a playoff berth in 2017 and an 11-2 record … Played both offensive and defensive tackle.

Deveon Ball, DB, 6-4, 208, Hinds Community College, Noxubee County High School, Macon, Miss.
Recorded 33 tackles and intercepted four passes in eight games for Hinds … Had 27 solo tackles … Averaged 4.1 tackles per game … Recovered one fumble … All-State South.

Demetrius Battle, RB, 6-1, 230, John Carroll High School, Birmingham, Ala.
Rushed for 881 yards as a senior and 1,851 career yards at John Carroll High School … Scored 31 career rushing touchdowns and averaged 4.0 yards per carry … Averaged 5.7 yards per carry as a senior … Had 29 career receptions for 446 yards and two TDs … Also had 25 tackles as a defender this season, including one sack … Also played at Restoration Academy.

*Ian Blake, OL, 6-5, 310, West Blocton High School, West Blocton, Ala.
Played both sides of the line of scrimmage at West Blockton … Had 21 tackles and a sack as a junior

Nathan Cobb, K/P, 5-11, 169, Florence High School, Florence, Ala.
Averaged 40.5 yards per punt and had 44 touchbacks as a senior kicker … Helped the Falcons earn a spot in 6A playoffs … Florence TimesDaily’s Class 4A-6A first team all-area punter … Five-star rating as a punter by Kohl’s Professional Kicking Camps, 4.5-star kicker.

Lawson Darden, OL, 6-6, 305, Bibb County High School, Centreville, Ala.
Played tackle and guard on offense … Doubled as a defensive end …

Trey Elston, DB, 6-2, 180, Auburn High School, Auburn, Ala.
Averaged 14.8 yards per reception … Also played basketball at AHS, averaging 7.7 points, 2.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds.

Gavin Griffin, QB, 6-2, 190, Southside High School, Southside, Ala.
First-team All Etowah County … Helped lead SHS to a third-place finish in the region … Honor Roll and National Honor Society.

Brody Guin, LB, 6-1, 215, Sipsey Valley High School, Buhl, Ala.
Played middle linebacker and tight end at SVHS … Also plays baseball at Sipsey Valley.

Collin Herring, FB, 5-10, 225, Gordo High School, Gordo, Ala.
Helped lead the Green Wave to a 10-2 record and a trip to the playoffs … Three-time ASWA All-state, twice as a linebacker and once as an athlete … Also played baseball at GHS, hitting .281 with 24 runs batted in … Had a 10-3 pitching record with a 0.91 earned run average … Went 3-for-3 with two RBI in state championship baseball game as a junior.

Joshua Jolly, 6-1, 192, LB, T.R. Miller High School, Brewton, Ala.
Rushed for 400 yards and four TDs … on 52 carries … Averaged 7.7 yards per carry … Completed 16-of-43 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns … Recorded 42 total tackles, 35 solo. Had an interception and five passes defended … Also played basketball at T.R. Miller as a shooting guard and small forward.

Mike Kidd, DB, 6-1, 180, Baker High School, Mobile, Ala.
Helped lead BHS to a second-place regional finish … Played on high school varsity team since seventh grade.

Jamarcus Knight, WR, 6-2, 180, Auburn High School, Auburn, Ala.
Helped lead Auburn High to a 10-2 record and state playoff appearance … Team’s leading receiver with 400 yards and 4 TDs … Long catch of 50 yards … Opelika-Auburn News All-Area Team.

Shamar Lewis, ATH, 5-11, 178, Sweet Water High School, Dixon Mills, Ala.
First-team all-state … Helped lead SWHS to a 14-1 record and a 1A state championship West Alabama Watchman Player of the Year … … Rushed for 1,205 yards and 12 touchdowns on 129 carries … Averaged 9.3 yards per carry as a senior … Recorded 94 tackles on defense … Had 32 tackles for loss, returned two fumbles for TDs … Had three sacks and five PBUs … Was Most Valuable Player in state championship game, rushing for 95 yards on 16 carries … also had a 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the state title game to go along with four tackles, an interception and two passes broken up … Also played baseball, hitting .375 … Played guard on the basketball team, averaging 10 points per game

RayRay Maye, WR, 5-10, 180, Excel High School, Excel, Ala.
Caught 39 passes for 487 yards and four touchdowns … Averaged 12.5 yards per reception … Had 70 carries for 248 yards and two TDs … Completed 17-of-35 passing attempts or 316 yards and five touchdowns … 793 all-purpose yards and 1,051 total yards … Punted 10 times for a 26.7 average … Averaged 11.6 yards per kickoff and punt returns.

Dalton McKenzie, WR, 5-9, 180, Monroe Academy, Monroeville, Ala.
ASWA All-State selection … Three-year starter at Monroe Academy … First Team all-county, Second-team all-state … Helped lead his team to a regional championship and a runner-up state championship finish … Four-year starter, all-county and AISA Allstar in baseball … All-county and defensive player of the year in his one season of basketball.

Griffin McKenzie, WR, 5-8, 180, Monroe Academy, Monroeville, Ala.
Played quarterback at Monroe Academy … First-team all-county … First-team all-state … ASWA All-State … Helped lead his team to a regional championship and a runner-up state championship finish … Four-year letter winner in baseball … All-county and AISA Allstar in baseball.

Cordell Plott, DB, 5-10, 170, Auburn High School, Auburn, Ala.
Played cornerback and wide receiver for Auburn High … 10th rated player in state of Alabama by MaxPreps … Averaged 11.0 yards per reception … Helped lead AHS to 10-2 record and state playoff appearance.

Kornelius Rogers, OL, 6-5, 280, East Mississippi Community College, Magee High School, Magee, Miss.
Helped lead EMCC to a junior college national championship.

Callahan Saggus, DL, 6-5, 300, Opelika High School, Opelika, Ala.
Recorded 22 tackles, 14 solo … Had a half sack and recovered a fumble.

Jay Thomas, DB, 6-2, 183, Hale County High School, Moundville, Ala.
Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State player … Recorded 66 total tackles … Had three interceptions and caused one fumble … Averaged 6.4 tackles per game … Caught 33 passes as a receiver for 525 yards and three TDs … Averaged 15.9 yards per reception … Averaged 20.8 yards per kick return.

Tremayne Tolbert, WR, 6-2, 197, College of Siskiyous, Troup, Ga., West Point, Ga.
Had 32 receptions for 402 yards and two touchdowns at Siskiyous … Averaged 12.6 yards per reception … Played football, baseball and basketball at Troup County High School … Had 51 receptions for 886 yards at TCHS … Averaged 17.4 yards per reception
Jam Woods, WR, Gadsden City High School, Gadsden, Ala.

Jam Woods, WR, 6-1, 185, Gadsden City High School, Gadsden, Ala.
Averaged 26.3 yards per reception with three touchdowns,

2017-18 Mid-Year Signees

Jordyn Bowlin, LB, 6-1, 205, Ackerman, Miss., Starkville (Miss.) High School, Northeast Mississippi Community College, Jones County Junior College
Played in 10 games as a sophomore at Jones County JC, making 45 tackles, 34 solo … Recorded three sacks and recovered three fumbles as a JCJC sophomore … Played in eight games as a freshman at Northeast Mississippi Community College, recording 27 tackles … Appeared in 10 games recorded 39 total tackles as a junior at Starkville High School … Helped lead SHS to 2014 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Division 2, Class 6A championship … Had 56 tackles in 12 games as a senior … Played in annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game in Gulfport.

Jon Michael Edwards, DL, 6-4, 250, Montgomery, Ala., Carver (Ala.) High School, Southern Miss
Appeared in four games as a redshirt freshman at Southern Miss, making one tackle … Named to the 2014-15 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Did not compete during the season, taking a redshirt … Three-star recruit coming out of Carver (Ala.) High School … according to Rivals.com, 247sports.com and Scout.com … Ranked 121 in the nation according to Scout.com … 52nd ranked defensive end and 29th best player in the state of Mississippi according to 247sports.com … Helped the Wolverines to a 39-12 overall record in four years … Named First Team All-Metro as a senior and Second Team All-Metro as a junior … Registered 152 total career tackles (101 solo), 16.5 sacks, one forced fumble and six quarterback hurries … As a senior, made 77 total tackles (56 solo) with 12.5 sacks, one forced fumble and five quarterback hurries … As a junior, made 45 total tackles (24 solo) with 2.0 sacks and a quarterback hurry … As a sophomore, made 30 total tackles (21 solo) with 2.0 sacks in seven games played … Played in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in December 2013 in Dallas.

Lavorciay Gaddis, DB, 5-10, 180, Foxworth, Miss., West Marion (Miss.) High School, Southwest Mississippi Community College
Played in nine games and recorded 59 total tackles and an interception as a sophomore at SWCC … Played in eight games as a freshman at SWCC, recording 39 total tackles, two broken up passes, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles … First-team all-state defensive back as a senior and all-state receiver as a junior at West Marion High School … Recorded 131 tackles and had 17 touchdowns as a senior at West Marion High.

Dorsett Johnson, LB, 6-1, 220, Memphis, Tenn., Memphis Central High School, Samford University
Played in five games in 2017 at Samford, recording Recorded 11 total tackles, six solo … Saw action in 10 games in 2016, finishing the season with 10 total tackles, including five solo stops … Redshirted in 2015 … Was an All-State linebacker at Memphis Central High School … Also named All-District and All-Metro … Selected to play in the East-West Tennessee All-Star Game … As a senior, tallied 64 tackles, 13 sacks, eight tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one interception … Also competed in basketball and track at Memphis Central.

Anfernee Jordan, DB, 6-0, 170, Hazlehurst, Miss., Hazlehurst High School, Southwest Mississippi Community College
Recorded 34 tackles and had two interceptions as a sophomore at Southwest Community College … Returned one interception for a touchdown …  Saw action in six games & had an assisted tackle as a freshman at SWCC … Played at Hazlehurst (Miss.) High School … Helped lead HHS to 12-1 record as a senior … Recorded 118 career tackles, 87 solo … Had seven career interceptions and broke up five passes … Scored eight rushing and four receiving touchdowns in HHS career.

Tyriq Martin, WR, 6-3, 185, Goose Creek, S.C., Goose Creek High School, Palmetto Prep
Played last season at Palmetto Prep in South Carolina after playing at Goose Creek (S.C.) High School … Caught 64 passes for 831 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior a Goose Creek … Had 84 career receptions for 1,093 yards and 11 TDs … Also rushed the ball 79 times for 993 yards and eight touchdowns at GCHS … Averaged 12.6 yards per carry and three touchdowns of 100-plus yards … 2,402 career all-purpose yards … 2017 South Carolina Class 5A 200-meter state champion, winning in time of 21.60 … All-region selection and North-South All-Star choice … Had two catches at Palmetto for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Dorrean McLaurin, WR, 6-2, 190, Collins, Miss., Collins High School, East Mississippi Community College
Had 11 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore at EMCC, averaging 10 yards per catch … Had five receptions for 53 yards as a freshman at EMCC … Averaged 10.6 yards per reception as a freshman at EMCC … Had 72 career receptions for 1,461 yards at Collins (Miss.) High School … Had 18 career prep receiving touchdowns, averaging 20.3 yards per catch.

Chase Mitchell, DB, 5-11, 190, Jacksonville, Fla., Oakleaf High School, Southwest Mississippi Community College
Had 19 tackles, all solo stops, and an interception in eight games as a sophomore at Southwest Community College … As a freshman at SMCC he appeared in all nine games, returning 12 kickoffs for 188 yards and one punt for 14 yards … As a high school senior recorded more than 50 tackles, had one interception and 10 pass breakups … Set a school-record with a 99-yard rushing touchdown

Christian Saulsberry, WR, 5-8, 180, Southhaven, Miss., Northpoint Christian High School, Itawamba (Miss.) Community College
Had 41 receptions for 510 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College … Averaged 12.4 yards per reception … Caught 14 passes for 148 yards as a freshman at ICC … As a senior at Northpoint Christian High School, he earned Tennessee Sports Writers Association first-team all-state as an athlete … Helped lead Northpoint Christian to state championship game and 13 consecutive wins … Had 1390 rushing yards with 16 touchdowns and caught 22 passes for 315 yards while adding three scores as a high school senior … Had 872 combined kickoff and punt return yards, with six returned for touchdowns … As a defender had 33 tackles and five interceptions, two of which were pick sixes.

La’Thomas Sharp, OL, 6-3, 315, Woodville, Miss., Wilkinson County (Miss.) High School, Mississippi Delta Community College
Recorded 46 career tackles in two seasons at Wilkinson County (Miss.) High School, 44 solo stops … Also played basketball in high school, averaging 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds over 46 games.

Jonnas Spivey, WR, 6-2, 190, Louin, Miss., Bay Springs High School, Mississippi State University, Jones County Community College
Caught 18 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore at Jones County (Miss.) Junior College … Averaged 18.9 yards per reception as a sophomore … Three-star athlete out of Bay Springs (Miss.) High School … Played on both sides of the ball and was quarterback at Bay Springs, which advanced to the second round of the 2014 Class 2A playoffs … Ranked No. 22 in the state of Mississippi by 247Sports Composite, No. 23 by Rivals.com, No. 26 by Scout.com and No. 19 by ESPN.com … In 2014, completed 80-of-112 passes for 1,431 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and 133 rushes for 1,002 yards and 13 touchdowns … Notched 17 tackles (five solos) and eight interceptions (three returned for a touchdowns) as a senior … Also had offers from Tennessee, Arkansas State and Southern Miss following senior year at BSHS.

Chancie Tidwell, TE, 6-0, 221, Clinton, Miss., Clinton High School, Jones County Junior College
Had eight receptions for 126 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore at JCJC … Averaged 15.8 yards per reception … Had six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown as a freshman at JCJC … All-MACJC South second-team.

Xavier Williamson, DB, 6-0, 175, Paulding, Miss., Heidelberg (Miss.) High School, East Central (Miss.) Community College
Played in nine games and recorded 30 total tackles as a sophomore at ECCC … Played in 10 games as a juco freshman, recording 50 tackles … Had 3.5 career tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, one interception (pick six) and six broken up passes at ECCC … Played both defensive back and quarterback at Heidelberg (Miss.) High School … First-team all-county selection.

University Charter School welcomes John W. Cameron as founding principal

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The Board of Directors for Sumter County’s new University Charter School has announced the hiring of its founding principal, John W. Cameron, Jr. His career in education has included all levels of public education from pre-k through 12th grade.

Before being named principal at University Charter School, Cameron has served the past three years as assistant director of the Hale County College & Career Academy. In this role, Cameron has been thoroughly involved with the Region 3 Workforce Development Committee, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, the Alabama Simulated Workplace, and the Ready to Work program for high school students.

Cameron was named principal at the UCS Board of Directors meeting on Monday, Feb. 5. According to Board President Micky Smith, UCS received 109 applications for the position, selecting Cameron as the best person to help the school achieve its goals and fulfill its mission. His background is a blend of professional achievements that complement the UCS vision for education and student development.

“I have always believed that we have to start early in elementary school to teach students soft skills that they need to grow and learn,” Cameron said. “Ultimately, we have to make sure that even as young children they are learning to talk to people, present themselves, and be able to compete fairly for their achievements. As educators, we provide the tools and a path for them to succeed.”

Cameron earned an associate of science in 1992 from Shelton State Community College, where he played baseball on scholarship. He then earned a bachelor of science in physical education from Livingston University (now UWA) in 1995 and was named one of two outstanding graduating seniors by the University’s College of Education. In 2005, he earned a master’s in education administration from UWA.

From 2006 until 2013, Cameron served as assistant principal at Hale County High School and was also head coach of baseball and athletic director there. He was then named principal of the school in 2013, serving two years in that position until being transferred to the Hale County College & Career Academy to serve as assistant director.

Cameron’s wife, Alesia, is also an educator, a special education teacher. They have two daughters, Liz (17) and Baylee (14). He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hiking and fly fishing. He’s a former power lifter competitor and says he still enjoys fitness but no longer lifts competitively.

A Tuscaloosa native, Cameron brings a track record of success in education, including teaching, coaching, and administration. He began his career as a physical education teacher and baseball coach. He has both taught and coached throughout Tuscaloosa City Schools, from elementary to high school at Skyland Elementary, Stillman Heights Elementary, Eastwood Middle, and Northington Elementary schools. Additional coaching positions include Tuscaloosa Middle School, Tuscaloosa Academy, Central High School, Hillcrest High School, and Paul W. Bryant High School, all in Tuscaloosa.

Over the course of his coaching career, he coached nine players who went on to play professional baseball, eight of which played in the major leagues.

“To me, coaching is teaching,” Cameron explained. “It’s providing leadership and instruction that allows everyone to succeed.”

Cameron said that he wants to act as a bridge that helps to build a school culture of inclusivity, fairness, and achievement.

“Issues usually are a result of divides, and divides are a matter of perception,” Cameron said. “We will establish a transparent path of communication for the school, families, and the community. We all share a common goal, and that is to get kids ready for whatever path they’ll choose, whether it’s academia, military, or absolutely any profession.”

Cameron said that he fully expects the challenges that will surely come with establishing a new school, and he sees his role as principal as an opportunity to set a high standard.

“The standard is excellence,” Cameron said. “It’s something that was instilled in me as a college athlete in Livingston. Our coaches held us to a standard and helped us do what we needed to do to succeed. The work is hard, but it’s rewarding. It’s where we gain the sense of investment that moves us forward.”

UWA welcomes Japan Consul General Shinozuka to campus

Pictured left to right are International Admissions Counselor Meng Xu, Special Assistant to the President Johnnie Aycock, UWA senior Jade Montgomery (Study Abroad), UWA senior Bailee Tindol (Study Abroad), Honorary Consul General of Japan Mark B. Jackson, Consul General of Japan Takashi Shinozuka, UWA President Dr. Ken Tucker, Communications Assistant Kaitlynn Beaird (Study Abroad), UWA Provost Dr. Tim Edwards, SGA President Jonathan Knox, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dr. Chris Thomason, Professor of English Dr. Stephen Slimp, and College of Liberal Arts Dean and International Programs Director Dr. Mark Davis.

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The University of West Alabama hosted Consul General of Japan Takashi Shinozuka and Honorary Consul General of Japan Mark B. Jackson on campus on Wednesday. Their visit included a campus tour and visits across campus, including the College of Business and Technology, International Programs, Integrated Marketing & Communications. During the visit they had a roundtable discussion with a group of campus leaders and UWA students who have participated in the Tigers International Study Abroad program.

Pictured left to right are UWA Provost Dr. Tim Edwards, Honorary Consul General of Japan Mark B. Jackson, Consul General of Japan Takashi Shinozuka, UWA President Dr. Ken Tucker, and College of Liberal Arts Dean and International Programs Director Dr. Mark Davis.

UWA announces Fall 2017 President’s and Dean’s Lists honors

LIVINGSTON, Ala.–The University of West Alabama has announced more than 500 outstanding undergraduate students named to the President’s List and the Dean’s List for the Fall 2017 academic semester.

To reach the President’s List, students must earn at least a 3.80 grade point average while attempting at least twelve semester hours.

To be named to the Dean’s List, students must obtain at least a 3.25 grade point average while attempting at least twelve semester hours.

Honorees are listed by state, then county, then city. Local honorees include:

Marengo Jennifer Belcher Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Alexis Benderson Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Keyonia Bowden Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Joseph Browder Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Melanie Campbell Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Tristen Fitz-Gerald Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Shanice Gracie Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Kathleen Jackson Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Mark Johnson Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Riley King Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Jason Low Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Cheyenne Martin Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Fallon Martin Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Clayton McVay Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Sara McVay Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Jackson Morrison Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Sydney Pettis Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Jarius Rembert Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Brittany Scott Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Luana Scott Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Cora Smith Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Heath Stanford Demopolis AL Dean’s List
Marengo Alyssa Wrensted Demopolis AL President’s List
Marengo Ethan Glass Dixons Mills AL President’s List
Marengo Ellen Alexander Gallion AL Dean’s List
Marengo Adriauna Alston Gallion AL Dean’s List
Marengo Luke McCray Gallion AL President’s List
Marengo Caitlin Thrash Gallion AL President’s List
Marengo Brandon Thrasher Gallion AL President’s List
Marengo Weldon Aydelott Linden AL Dean’s List
Marengo Devin Burrell Linden AL Dean’s List
Marengo Mary Moore Linden AL Dean’s List
Marengo Macy Morgan Linden AL Dean’s List
Marengo Kimberly Parker Linden AL President’s List
Marengo Daniel Ratcliff Linden AL President’s List
Marengo Maverick Ratcliff Linden AL Dean’s List
Marengo Joseph Sammons Linden AL Dean’s List
Marengo Blakley Tartt Linden AL Dean’s List
Marengo Hunter Webb Myrtlewood AL Dean’s List
Marengo Desha Anderson Sweet Water AL Dean’s List
Marengo Kennesha Curtis Sweet Water AL President’s List
Marengo Christopher Dunn Sweet Water AL President’s List
Marengo Chynna Ernest Sweet Water AL President’s List
Marengo Riley Overton Sweet Water AL Dean’s List
Marengo Bria Robinson Sweet Water AL Dean’s List
Marengo Curtis Witherington Sweet Water AL Dean’s List
Marengo Destany Jones Thomaston AL Dean’s List
Marengo Amber McDaniel Thomaston AL President’s List
Marengo Karlton Nathan Thomaston AL Dean’s List
Marengo Mary Rivers Thomaston AL Dean’s List
Marengo Preston Traywick Thomaston AL Dean’s List

 

Sumter Brooklyn Bryan Cuba AL Dean’s List
Sumter Valerie Larkin Cuba AL Dean’s List
Sumter Payton McElroy Cuba AL President’s List
Sumter David Castleberry Emelle AL President’s List
Sumter Ebone Newton Emelle AL Dean’s List
Sumter Elizabeth Waddell Emelle AL President’s List
Sumter Lathia Adams Epes AL Dean’s List
Sumter Deanna Clark Epes AL Dean’s List
Sumter Tajah Bell Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Michelle Campbell Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Laurel Carrier Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter McKenzie Dawson Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Holli Gandy Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Victoria Gandy Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Nikki Giles Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Langdon Griffith Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Christopher Hester Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Anna Holycross Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Rebekah Horton Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Shanice Jones Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Kathryn Kelley Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter William McDaniel Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Guadalupe Meza Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Jade Montgomery Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter John Morgan Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Brittney Pratt Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Hunter Ray Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Jordan Robinson Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Tyesha Ruffin Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Laprease Sparks Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Christopher Spencer Livingston AL President’s List
Sumter Ashley Thorne Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Felix Woods Livingston AL Dean’s List
Sumter Devante Giles York AL President’s List
Sumter Ja’roderick Parker York AL President’s List
Sumter Denetria Ruffin York AL Dean’s List
Sumter Be’ana Wade York AL President’s List
Sumter Alexis Watkins York AL Dean’s List
Sumter Dandre Watson York AL Dean’s List
Greene Debora Henderson Boligee AL Dean’s List
Greene Tyreice Mack Boligee AL President’s List
Greene Curtis Davidson Eutaw AL Dean’s List
Greene Summer Earle Eutaw AL President’s List
Greene Rosemary Horton Eutaw AL Dean’s List
Greene Nicole Aledo Forkland AL Dean’s List
Greene Kanigia Pelt Forkland AL Dean’s List
Perry Kiara Payton Marion AL President’s List
Perry Karsyn Roye Uniontown AL Dean’s List

UWA closed Tuesday due to winter weather threat

Due to threatening winter weather conditions, the University of West Alabama be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Day and evening classes will not meet, campus events for the day and evening are canceled, and administrative offices will be closed.

Campus dining facilities will close early at 2 p.m.

UWA faculty, staff, and students may receive emergency notifications by subscription via UWA Alerts, the University’s emergency alert system, at http://myaccount.uwa.edu/.

UWA’s Blair to play in Tropical Bowl All Star Game

West Alabama All-America offensive tackle Dontavius Blair has accepted an invitation to play in the Division 1 FBS SPRIAL Tropical Bowl All Star Game in Daytona Beach, Florida on January 14.

The SPIRAL Tropical Bowl showcases the top college football seniors to NFL scouts and GM’s who travel from around the country to the event. The weekend is focused on scouting, teaching, and football.

The SPIRAL Tropical Bowl has featured 70-plus NFL Scouts from 26-plus NFL Teams. Over 110 SPIRAL Tropical Bowl alumni have gone on to the NFL since its inception in 2016.

The game kicks off at 8 a.m. central time at Daytona Beach Memorial Stadium. Tickets are $27 and can be purchased online through Ticketmaster or at the gate the day of the game.

The game will be video live streamed by Flosports at flofootball.com. A Flofootball subscription is required.

UWA football takes GSC crown outright in Valdosta

VALDOSTA, Ga. – For once in their lives West Alabama players had permission to be stingy – greedy even – and it paid off as the Tigers claimed the outright 2017 Gulf South Conference football championship with a 38-14 victory over Valdosta State at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

The win improved the Tigers to 8-2 overall and 7-1 in league play. Over the last two seasons West Alabama is 13-3 in Gulf South Conference games, winning the outright league crown this year for the first time since 2012 and winning seven GSC games for the first time in school history.

Valdosta State is 4-4 overall and 3-3 in GSC play. A Blazer win along with other GSC team wins paired with a UWA loss could have left the Tigers in a multi-team tie for the conference crown.

West Alabama made sure there was never a doubt. Valdosta State never got closer than 10 points as the Tigers ran up 511 yards of total offense, 277 of those on the ground. The Tiger defense limited VSU to just 4-of-14 on third down conversions and 1-of-3 on fourth down tries.

“We said we were going to be greedy all week,” defensive end Terrence Jones said. “Sharing was never an option.”

The Tigers jumped to a 14-0 lead on a 2-yard first quarter score and 3-yard touchdown run in the second period by Lakenderic Thomas, who finished the game with 129 yards on 18 carries. Tyler Rogers was a more than adequate compliment to Thomas, piling up 114 yards on 14 carries. Neither had a negative-yards rushing play.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this football team and this staff,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “We came out with a mindset to start fast and we made the necessary plays to do that. We set the tone early and made it stand up.”

A 25-yard field goal by Colin Douglas and a 29-yard touchdown pass from Valdosta State quarterback Rogan Wells to Brian Saunds with just over a minute left in the second quarter made it 17-7 West Alabama at the half.

“We didn’t want to share a title, so this was a statement game for us,” Thomas said. “Our offensive line may have had their best game all year. They knew what we had to do and did it.”

Rogers dampened the Valdosta State halftime enthusiasm by sprinting 59 yards to score on the fifth play of the second half, increasing the UWA lead to 24-7.

“Our scout team did a great job all week giving us a great look,” Rogers said. “Our offensive line got a great push and it’s just our job to hit the hole.”

Wells hooked up with Tshumbi Johnson for a 14-yard touchdown pass to cut the West Alabama lead to 24-14 with 9:03 left in the third period. The Blazers would not score again.

Donta Armstrong made a SportsCenter Top 10 touchdown play, leaping over double coverage in the endzone to snatch a 31-yard touchdown pass from Harry Satterwhite to make it 31-14 with 10:22 left.

“We came out of the timeout and Coach Gilliland and Coach (offensive coordinator Don) Bailey said ‘let’s end this thing’,” Armstrong said. “Once the ball is in the air it’s either ours or nobody’s. I knew I would come down with it.”

Tevin Moore finished the scoring with 28 seconds left, capping a 10-play, 40-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

Satterwhite was 18-for-30 for 234 yards and was sacked just one time. Wells completed 17-of-34 for 199 yards and was sacked three times. Wells was also VSU’s leading rusher with 91 yards on 16 carries.

Armstrong finished with seven catches for 118 yards and Barnard McGhee caught four for 31. Armstrong finished with 197 all-purpose yards after getting 79 punt return yards.

Saunds was VSU’s leading receiver with five grabs for 76 yards.

Terry Samuels was West Alabama’s leading tackler with 6.5 stops, including a sack. Jones and Devante Davis also sacked Wells. Malik Slater had 7.5 tackles to lead Valdosta State.

West Alabama finishes the regular season by hosting North Greenville in a non-conference game Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. Valdosta State closes its season at Shorter.

UWA cuts ribbon at Center for Workforce Development on campus

The University of West Alabama held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the launch of its Center for Workforce Development on Nov. 2. Pictured left to right: Dr. Tina N. Jones, executive director of UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach; Mr. Curtis Jones, instructor of automotive technology at UWA; Dr. Mary Hanks, chair of UWA’s Ira D. Pruitt Division of Nursing; Mr. Joseph Brown, Alabama Power Company, economic development chair for UWA’s board of trustees; Dr. Aliquippa Allen, interim dean of UWA’s College of Business and Technology; Dr. Donnie Cobb, CIST professor and director of UWA’s Center for Workforce Development; Ms. Angela Till, State of Alabama deputy secretary of commerce; Mr. Fitzgerald Washington, State of Alabama secretary of labor; Dr. Ken Tucker, UWA president; Mr. J.D. Pruitt, instructor of welding at UWA; Ms. Veronica Triplett, director of UWA’s Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Services; Mr. Johnnie Aycock, special assistant to the president at UWA; and Allison Brantley, director of economic development at UWA.

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The University of West Alabama hosted a full roster of state, regional, and local officials on Thursday, Nov. 2, for the ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating the launch of the new UWA Center for Workforce Development at Hunt Annex on campus.

UWA President Ken Tucker welcomed a standing-room only crowd, thanking all in attendance for their commitment to supporting the University in its efforts to drive workforce and economic development for the Black Belt region.

“We want to create an education and training pipeline to help unemployed and underemployed individuals to increase their knowledge and abilities so they can get better jobs, pay raises, benefits, and other opportunities that will increase their standard of living,” Tucker said. “Rather than being an island unto itself, UWA is working with local and regional leaders to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.”

Dr. Tina N. Jones, executive director of UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach, introduced several special guests and explained that the Division serves not only Sumter County, but west Alabama and the entire Black Belt region by developing the unique natural and cultural assets to address the educational, social, and economic needs of the area.

Mr. Joseph Brown, Western Division manager for Alabama Power Company, sits on the UWA Board of Trustees and serves as chair of its economic development committee. Brown spoke to the crowd gathered, offering the Board’s support and encouragement for this endeavor.

“This event and this initiative are proof of the positive impact that UWA has on economic and workforce development on and off campus,” Brown said. “This Center is truly fulfilling a tremendous need in our region.”

Alabama Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington also applauded UWA’s efforts, which he says are proving to be fruitful. Sumter County’s unemployment rate is down from 6.2 percent to 4.7 percent. He said that Alabama is currently paying 15 percent lower in unemployment wages than the state has paid in the last decade.

“We made a commitment to lower unemployment rates, and that’s what we plan to continue doing, bringing these rates down to single digits” Washington said, citing an only 3.8 percent unemployment rate for Alabama right now, down from 4.2 percent in August and tied for Alabama’s lowest in history. He said Alabama boasts the largest recent drop in the nation.

Angela Till, deputy secretary of commerce for the State of Alabama, commended the University for working to align with the needs or area businesses and industries to improve the overall economy.

“Without workforce development, there is no economic development,” Till said. “UWA is helping to build and strengthen a qualified workforce, and this is vital to our state’s economy.”

Dr. Donnie Cobb, professor of computer information systems and technology for UWA’s College of Business and Technology, serves as director of the new Center for Workforce Development. Cobb shared some of the ways people can support and empower the Center, from offering facility tours at area operations, discussions with students, donations of consumables, and any other steps that can help guide student success.

“Our program has seen a 600 percent growth in recent years, and although that’s phenomenal, we want more,” Cobb said.

Interim Dean Dr. Aliquippa Allen also spoke on behalf of the College of Business and Technology, commending the faculty and staff that have taken lead roles in creating the center and driving its success. She introduced Mr. Curtis Jones, instructor of automotive technology, and Mr. J.D. Pruitt, instructor of welding. Both have developed curriculum as part of the University’s workforce development effort to prepare students for certificate programs that increase their skill levels and can even be transferred toward a two- or four-year program.

Information on UWA’s Workforce Development programs and contact information relevant to each are online at http://www.uwa.edu/workforce_ development.aspx.

To learn more about UWA’s Center for Workforce Development or the programs and initiatives offered to empower and grow west Alabama’s workforce, contact Dr. Donnie Cobb at 205-652-3704 or email him at dcobb@uwa.edu. Reach the Division of Economic Development and Outreach by calling 205-652-3828 or email Dr. Tina N. Jones at tnj@uwa.edu.

UWA students crown Elizabeth Jones of Tuscaloosa Homecoming Queen

The UWA 2017 Homecoming Court, pictured left to right, are sophomore maid Ma’Kiyah Hall of Reform, Ala.; LaPrease Sparks of Birmingham, Ala.; Chloe Paige of Hattiesburg, Miss.; UWA’s 2017 Homecoming Queen Elizabeth Jones of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Lauren Sevenish of Tuscaloosa, Ala..; Quenterica White of Sawyerville, Ala.; and freshman maid Rian Crawford of Pell City, Ala.

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—During Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Oct. 28, the University of West Alabama announced its 2017 Homecoming Queen, Elizabeth Jones of Tuscaloosa. Jones and the Homecoming Queen’s court were nominated and elected by the UWA student body as the leading ladies of the week.

The queen, a closely guarded secret, was announced and crowned on the field during halftime festivities at the UWA vs. West Florida game on Saturday.

Homecoming Queen Elizabeth Jones is a senior from Tuscaloosa. A graduate of Hillcrest High School, Jones is majoring in elementary education. She is a member of the UWA cheerleading team and is vice president of Phi Mu Fraternity.

Jones serves as a UWA Orientation leader and vice president of the student ambassador leadership council. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, and Blue Key Honor Societies. She has served as a UWA CARES peer mentor and was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Jones is the daughter of Steven and Lisa Jones and the late Katharyn Jones. She was escorted on the field by her father.

Chloe Paige, a senior from Hattiesburg, Miss., and nursing major, is a member of the court. A graduate of Hattiesburg High School, Paige is a member of the Student Government Association and Student Nurses Association and also serves as treasurer of her nursing class.

Paige works as a student recreation attendant at Hughes Gym, UWA’s Rec Center.  She is a Trustee Scholar and a 2017 John Brown Scholar through the First Presbyterian Church of Livingston. She is the daughter of the late Arthur Ray Russell and Tamika Paige, and she was escorted on the field by her brother, Keirston Paige.

Lauren Sevenish, a senior from Tuscaloosa, is a member of the court. She is a graduate of Tuscaloosa County High school and is majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications with a focus in graphic design. Sevenish is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Chi, and Lambda Pi Eta. She serves as an Orientation leader and Ambassador for UWA’s Office of Admissions. She also serves as the public relations chair for the UWA Student Government Association.

Sevenish is president of Blue Key Honor Society, president of Cardinal Key Honor Society and president of the UWA Ambassador Leadership Council. She is the daughter of Rick Sevenish and Shell Ann Golden, and she was escorted on the field by her father.

LaPrease Sparks, a senior from Birmingham, is a member of the court. Sparks, a graduate of Ramsay High School, is majoring in elementary education. She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Chi Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Sparks is the acting Anti-Basileus and Epistoleus of Sigma Gama Rho Sorority, Inc. She serves as a resident assistant for UWA Housing in Gilbert Hall. She was recognized by Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She is the daughter of laPerrian Sparks and Melvin Davis and was escorted on the field by her father.

Quenterica White, a senior from Sawyerville, is a member of the court. She is a graduate of Francis Marion High School and is majoring in elementary education. White has been a member of the UWA Scarlet Band for almost four years and has served as a member of Side Court Posse for one year.

White is a pledge of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. She has been named on the Dean’s List several times at UWA. She is in her second year serving as a UWA resident assistant for Hoover Apartments. She is the daughter of Randall and Malinda White and was escorted on the field by her father.

Ma’Kiyah Hall, a sophomore from Reform, is the court’s sophomore maid. Hall is a graduate of Pickens County High School. Ma’Kiyah is a member of UWA’s Scarlet Band as a Scarlet Guard. She is the daughter of Marlin and Jennifer Hall and was escorted on the field by her father.

Rian Crawford of Pell City is the court’s freshman maid. Crawford attended Pell City High School. She is a member of the UWA Cheerleading Team.  A criminal justice major, she is the daughter of Willard and La Tonya Crawford and was escorted on the field by her father.

University Charter School announces PK-8 opening structure

University Charter School signed its official charter on Thursday, Oct. 26, marking the beginning of a five-year contract with its authorizer, the Alabama Public Charter School Commission. Pictured left to right at the charter signing ceremony are University of West Alabama President Ken Tucker, University Charter School Board President Micky Smith, APCSC Chairman Mac Buttram, UCS Head of School Dr. J.J. Wedgworth, and Logan Searcy of the Alabama State Department of Education. The University of West Alabama sponsored the application for the new charter school in Sumter County, which is set to open for grades pre-k through eight in August 2018. The school will add a grade each year to become a pre-k through 12 school in 2022.

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—Sumter County’s new University Charter School has now entered into contract with the Alabama Public Charter School Commission with a pre-k through 8th opening grade structure. At the charter signing ceremony, held Thursday, Oct. 23, in UWA’s Tutwiler Conference Center, school leaders and the Alabama Public Charter School Commission signed the contract outlining a final plan for opening, enrollment, and development of the school.

A standing room only crowd gathered in support of the charter signing. APCSC was represented by Chairman Mac Buttram and Logan Searcy. UWA President Ken Tucker offered support on behalf of the University of West Alabama, and UCS Board President Micky Smith thanked all in attendance for the continued support shown to the effort.

Buttram commended the community and school organizers for the work that has been done thus far to establish the school and provide opportunity and choice to students. He also recognized UWA for offering leadership in the application process, referencing the University’s long history of providing teacher education to the region.

“I hope some other universities will look at what UWA has done and follow their lead,” Buttram said, referencing several other higher education institutions that were once teacher colleges, like UWA.

Opening in August of 2018, the school will serve grades pre-k through eight and will add one grade per year to reach grade 12 by the 2022-23 academic year. The finalized contract is a framework that has evolved to accommodate the needs and interests expressed by the community, including grade structure and enrollment eligibility.

“We are excited to solidify plans for University Charter School and begin the process of registering and enrolling students for the 2018-19 school year,” said Head of School Dr. J.J. Wedgworth. “We believe we have a strong plan for moving forward and for meeting the needs and interests of the community as determined through the interest surveys we have collected.”

Wedgworth explained that the school was first expected to open for pre-k through 5th grade, but an interest inventory conducted throughout the community following the school’s application approval showed the need for additional grades. She said that the Commission allowed flexibility if plans could be backed by significant research.

“The goal is for UCS to provide an educational option to as many of the children in our region as practically possible,” Wedgworth said. “Based on the results of our recently-conducted interest survey, the practical grade structure based on enrollment interest is pre-k through 8th grade. Although we originally planned to open with a pre-k through 5th grade structure adding the remaining upper grades in Year 2, we saw an opportunity based on survey results to expand the opening grade structure and provide an educational option to more children in Year 1.”

Capacity for the first year is set at 350 students. Enrollment will include three phases: pre-registration, seat offering and acceptance, and final registration.

Pre-registration for kindergarten through 8th grade will begin Nov. 15, 2017, for students residing in Sumter County. With pre-registration for Sumter County residents concluding on December 13, if the number of Sumter County pre-registrants exceeds the facility’s capacity, a lottery for Sumter County residents will be held on Dec. 14.  If pre-registration does not exceed capacity, this lottery will not be necessary, and students will be offered available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

A second pre-registration period will be held for students who do not live in Sumter County, including Mississippi residents who live within 15 miles of the Sumter County line or whose guardian works in Sumter County. These students can pre-register for kindergarten through 8th grade beginning January 3, 2018, through January 31, 2018. If the number of pre-registrants exceeds space remaining after Sumter County registration, a lottery for non-Sumter residents will be held on Feb. 1, 2018. If the number does not exceed availability, this lottery will not be necessary, and students will be offered available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pre-kindergarten will be open to students who will turn four years old on or before Sept. 1, 2018. Enrollment for pre-kindergarten will be announced at a later date, as directed by the Office of School Readiness policies and procedures for First Class Pre-K Classrooms.

“UCS will continue pre-registration until all seats are filled or until we feel that we have reached a sustainable founding class size,” Wedgworth explained.

Following pre-registrations and any lottery drawings that may be necessary, parents and students will receive letters from UCS with an offer for a seat in the grade in which they pre-registered. Parents must then accept or decline the seat in that grade in order to move into the final registration process. Following acceptance of a seat offer, the seat is held for the student, and the student’s more detailed application will be completed for enrollment.

“For all three phases of enrollment—pre-registration, seat offering and acceptance, and final registration—UCS will utilize SchoolMint, which is a mobile and cloud-based student enrollment platform,” Wedgworth said. “We believe this system is a good fit for our needs, and it’s easy to use. I encourage all students and their families to set up a profile now on SchoolMint to become familiar with the platform and to be prepared for the opening of pre-registration.”

Beginning November 15, the pre-registration application will be available to families residing in Sumter County, but parents can access UCS’s SchoolMint platform now to create an account at https:// universitycharterschool. schoolmint.net/signin.

Anyone who would like assistance or has limited access to a computer, mobile device, or internet can participate in one of six on-site pre-registration sessions, three for each pre-registration period. For Sumter County resident pre-registration, the sessions are scheduled for Nov. 20, Dec. 4, and Dec. 13. For non-Sumter County resident pre-registration, the sessions are scheduled for Jan. 4, Jan. 15, and Jan. 30. All sessions will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., held in Lyon Hall Room A136.

UCS will be housed temporarily in Lyon Hall, which is home to the University of West Alabama’s Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education.

“Plans are already being made for constructing a standalone, independent facility for University Charter School,” Wedgworth said. “As the school grows and develops, a new facility will be built to reflect the school’s needs and offerings. This will be built in a different area on campus already designated to University Charter School. We look forward to matching the innovative school plan with a facility that will house its many offerings and accommodate a growing student body.”

University Charter School is the result of an innovative collaboration between UWA and its surrounding community. A rural, regional public institution of higher education, UWA, in fulfillment of its mission to “improve the region through education and outreach” fostered the development of UCS as a solution to some of the unique challenges facing rural public education in the Black Belt region.

By partnering with UWA, UCS will open with the support of an experienced board of directors, well-trained teachers and staff, and proven systems to implement the innovative educational model. The University partnership will bring to UCS relationships within the education and philanthropic communities and experience in the design, implementation, and support of staff from the Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education that are formally trained in rural education.

“University Charter School was designed with input from and support of the community to meet the needs and desires of the community and this will continue to be the priority for the school,” Wedgworth said.

To learn more about University Charter School, call 205-652-5459 or visit www.universitycharterschool. org. Further information on enrollment, employment, and other operations of the school will be announced as it continues to be developed.