The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise — along with co-sponsors Patriot Auto Group and Truity Credit Union — will literally roll out the red carpet Aug. 4 for the region’s most outstanding students and athletes during the fourth annual Night of Scholars and Champions.
“It’s a way we can tangibly show our employees, customers and community that we care,” said Tatton Manning, Patriot Auto Group principal dealer.
The area’s top students and athletes will be honored during the celebration at Tower Center at Unity Square. Dinner will be catered by Shorties Grille. A pre-ceremony VIP reception will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the awards ceremony begins about an hour later. A photo booth will be on site to commemorate the occasion.
Conceived five years ago to recognize students who go above and beyond in service to their community, the event has become an important part of Bartlesville’s civic fabric.
“It’s really not just about grades,” Manning said. “It’s about community involvement and supporting your neighbor.”
The program is an effort to move away from the tendency to glorify athletes above students who are making a difference in their communities, although two athletes — a boy and a girl — will walk away with $1,000 scholarships to the college of their choice.
“That is still important. I went to college on a baseball scholarship. I wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise,” Manning said.
“The scholars and champions that we will honor on Aug. 4 are long overdue to be recognized,” said Dennis Halpin, president and chief executive officer of Truity Credit Union. “The end of their school year in March did not allow them to participate in the events that happen every year in their school districts, such as sports awards, proms and graduations. Our scholars and champions deserve a night to celebrate their accomplishments.”
Each year, 12 area school districts nominate high school students for the Student of the Month. These students must demonstrate academic excellence, community leadership, active volunteerism and moral integrity. A panel of judges then selects a male and a female for each month’s honor.
From that group of students, one will be named Student of the Year and will drive away with a new Hyundai Elantra at a value of more than $20,000 — courtesy of Patriot Auto Group.
“Grown-ups are always looking to see whether the next generation will be able to lead,” Manning said. “This event makes you really feel good about our community. It lets us know we are in good hands.”
This year, organizers are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of students, athletes and their families amid the pandemic. Every VIP pre-ceremony attendee’s temperature will be checked upon entering the venue. Boxed dinners will be distributed to those with tickets. Sanitation stations will be provided with hand sanitizer. Masks are suggested but not required.
Halpin said the Night of Scholars and Champions is the only event where the Bartlesville community has an opportunity to recognize the efforts of high school students from all of the schools in Washington County. He said Truity is proud to have been a major sponsor of this event for the past three years.
“Our sponsorship of this event reinforces our commitment to education in a way that is visible to the students, their family members and their schools,” he said.