For 15 years, Kentucky Utilities has sponsored the popular Scholar Athlete feature in the magazine, honoring 180 local high school and middle-school students during that time who have excelled in sports and in the classroom.
Each year, KU and Family Magazine host a banquet where the Scholar Athletes are recognized and receive commemorative T-shirts and certificates, along with other mementos.
At the 2013 banquet in June, for the first time the year’s 12 Scholar Athletes will be entered in a drawing for a $1,500 and $1,000 scholarship.
These scholarships will be provided by Pulliam, a realtor at Rector-Hayden and an instructor at Man O’ War golf, plus Howard Smith of Southern Automotive Garage Equipment, Barry and Mike Barrett of Auto Excel, local CPA Kenny Frank and PBI Bank.
Pulliam, who played golf at Lexington Catholic and at Purdue and Western Kentucky University, has instructed hundreds of kids in his 15 years at Man O’ War Golf and has always emphasized academics.
“Every single kid I teach gets A’s and B’s because if they get a C, they have to run laps at Man O’ War or write a paper for me on the importance of academics,” Pulliam said.
“If they get straight A’s, they earn a discount on their golf lessons.
“These scholarships will promote kids to work hard in school, and will inspire them not to neglect academics.”
Pulliam’s partners echo that sentiment, saying that rewarding young people for their accomplishments is a top priority.
“When you have someone who is a good athlete and a strong student, they are more well-rounded, dedicated people, and we need a lot more of those these days,” Smith said.
Added Barry Barrett: “When you invest in young people, you invest in the future. Anyone who has gone on to be a success has had something like this to help them along.”
Editor John Lynch, who profiles the Scholar Athletes for the magazine, is thrilled by the new program.
“This is the most popular feature in the magazine and we receive loads of nominees,” he said. “Adding scholarships to the program is a wonderful way to bring even more attention to these deserving young people.”
The inspiration for the scholarship program came from Pulliam’s niece, Katie Parrott, who won a scholar-athlete award and a scholarship as a high school golfer in the Nashville area.
Impressed, Pulliam wanted to import the idea to Kentucky. “I didn’t like Tennessee one-upping us,” said Pulliam, a lifelong UK football and basketball fan.