WETUMPKA , AL – The Board of Directors of the Joe Sewell Memorial Award and John Sewell Memorial Scholarship have released the names of its 2021 Senior Finalists.

The award was established in 2005 to recognize outstanding high school senior athletes in Elmore County who have consistently represented the highest ideals of Christian leadership.  Each year, one male and one female senior from Elmore County high schools are chosen for the top honor – the Joe Sewell Memorial Award and $3000 John Sewell Scholarship.  Male and female category winners are also selected for academics, athletics, leadership, and church, community, and character, with each category winner receiving a $1000 scholarship. The Joe Sewell Memorial Award is the only program of its kind in the River Region that presents scholarship money in conjunction with the awards to overall and category winners.

Additionally, the award serves to honor the legacy of Joe Sewell, a native of the Titus community who established a very successful baseball career in the Majors from 1920-1933 and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.  Sewell’s athletic skill was apparent as he holds two of Major League Baseball’s records including the lifetime record for fewest strikeouts in his 14 year career with only 114 in 7,132 at-bats.  His outstanding character and leadership are qualities that serve as the foundation of this award.  His cousin John Sewell, for whom the top scholarships are named, loved sports and spent much of his free time coaching and helping young people.  Both men left a legacy in Elmore County that youth and adults alike can emulate.

This year’s 17th Annual Joe Sewell Memorial Award banquet will be held Tuesday, May 4th, at 6:30 pm at the Wetumpka Civic Center.  Due to current Covid 19 guidelines with limited venue capacity, this year’s banquet will be a private event for the senior student finalists, their four family guests, their coaches, and banquet sponsors. The 9th Grade Certificate Winners will be recognized at a 4:00 pm ceremony.

This year’s keynote speaker will be former University of Alabama & NFL quarterback, Brodie Croyle. Croyle is the Executive Director of Big Oak Ranch, established in 1974 by his father, Alabama football legend, John Croyle. Big Oak Ranch is a Christian home for abused, neglected, orphaned and abandoned children and is founded on the words of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Croyle is married to Kelli Schutz Croyle. They have two sons, Sawyer and Luke.

The Joe Sewell Board of Directors expresses their appreciation for the consistent generosity of the loyal sponsors whose contributions allow the awarding of the program’s scholarships, as well as the opportunity to celebrate these students’ accomplishments with a formal award event each year. For more information regarding the award and scholarship program, visit https://joesewellaward.com [joesewellaward.com].