CHAPEL HILL — The North Carolina High School Athletic Association recently announced the inaugural recipients of the 2021-2022 Mark Dreibelbis Scholarship, providing scholarship support to student-athletes who have displayed exceptional leadership. And in the first year of the scholarship’s existence, one of the five recipients was a Sampson County student.
Madissen Cannady from Midway was among those receiving the Mark Dreibelbis Scholarship.
Joining her were Mary Shoop from AC Reynolds, Sydney Spear from John A. Holmes, Kylie Aldridge from Gray’s Creek, and Michael Cook from High Point Central. Each recipient receives a $2,500 scholarship award and a commemorative plaque.
The Mark Dreibelbis Scholarship honors the contribution to high school athletics and legacy of student services programming left by former NCHSAA Associate Commissioner, Mark Dreibelbis. Dreibelbis retired in April 2022 after 17 years at the Association. During his NCHSAA tenure, Dreibelbis was known for his passionate teaching and mentoring sessions, DREAM (Daring to Role model Excellence as Athletic Mentors) Team Trainings, Student Services Programs, and advocating for officials as an avocation.
The Dreibelbis Scholarship recognizes athletes from across the state who have demonstrated excellence in leadership throughout their high school careers.
Cannady, who recently graduated from Midway High School, played soccer and ran cross country and track and field. She was chosen as captain in her senior year of both the cross country and track teams. Cannady was the recipient of several recognitions, including All-County in cross country, track and field, and soccer; Conference Female Champion for the women’s cross country team; Conference Runner Of The Year; and All-Conference in cross country.
She was president of the Student Government Association and was inducted into the Spanish Honor Society. Cannady has volunteered with the Salemburg Food Bank, Operation Christmas Child, and several activities with the elderly.
She will attend Methodist University and run cross country while studying business administration.
“It has been said challenges are what makes life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful,” Cannady stated in an NCHSAA article. “I feel this quote describes my cross country career… as I set out to correct what COVID tried to take from me.”
It was previously announced that Cannady was among 10 students in Sampson selected to receive the 2022-23 Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients, among her other accolades.
Other recipients of the Mark Dreibelbis Scholarship include:
Mary Shoop, of AC Reynolds High School, ran cross country and participated on the track and field team all four years. She culminated her career as a 4-A State Qualifier in cross country and three track and field events. Shoop has received several athletic and educational awards throughout his career. She has been named to the All-County, All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State Teams multiple times. Although she has worked with several organizations in her community, she’s very proud of the work she has done with the Presbyterian Youth Council of Western North Carolina working with middle schoolers in a retreat setting, as well as weekly discussion groups. Shoop plans to continue her education at Davidson College where she will study political science and data science.
Sydney Spear, of John A. Holmes High School, played basketball, tennis, and softball. She is known throughout the school for her athletic achievements and academic excellence and was named NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete in all three sports. Ella’s hard work led her to the State Tennis Championships twice and to a Conference Championship in basketball. She was a Red Cross Blood Drive Volunteer each of her four years, organized a Food Pantry Tennis Tournament, and remains a member of the Rocky Hock Baptist Church Youth Group. As Spear continues her education at one of several schools to which she has been accepted, she will pursue a career in sports medicine.
Michael Cook, of High Point Central High School, played basketball and baseball, culminating his career as captain of both the varsity basketball and baseball teams. Cook was inducted into the National Honor Society in his junior year and will be valedictorian at graduation. Cook has given back to his community by helping those affected by hurricanes, helping to renovate 2 churches and a house and spending time with those left homeless. He will study statistics at one of the four schools to which he has been accepted.
Kylie Aldridge, of Grays Creek High School, played softball and volleyball. In her senior year, she broke two county records for kills in a season and kills in a career. She was named to the First Team All-Region and All-State Teams. Aldridge is also an NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete in both sports. During her high school career, she has been involved with the Student Government Association as freshman class secretary, sophomore and junior class president, and student body president as a senior. Aldridge has volunteered at her local food bank and with Special Olympics volleyball. She has committed to play softball at Virginia Tech, where she will study biology.
Information provided by the NCHSAA.