Fort Mill High athlete honored for ‘Doing the Right Thing’

Special to the Fort Mill TimesMarch 24, 2014 

— Being a good teammate and friend is part of everyday life for BJ Hurst.

Hurst, a senior at Fort Mill High School, was the winner of the latest Do The Right Thing Awards announced Thursday at Town Hall. The awards, an initiative started by the Fort Mill Police Department, are handed out throughout the school year to reinforce good deeds and choices. Students in middle and high school are nominated by teachers and community members and a committee selects a grand prize winner and honorable mention winners.

For Hurst, doing the right thing meant helping a teammate going through a rough situation. Looking out for his teammate, Hurst made sure to have his back and be a support system for him, according to the nomination by Hurst’s wrestling coach, Chris Brock.

Hurst had no idea the impact he was making on his friend’s life. His teammate, a freshman, was struggling to adjust to high school while also dealing with an illness in his family. Hurst said being on the wrestling team taught him to be a friend and support others. Hurst, who also volunteers with the fire department and is planning to go into the Army, said he did what he was taught growing up and by Brock.

“I like helping people,” he said. “He’s a great coach,” Hurst said of Brock. “I try to fit into his shoes.”

Hurst said the Do The Right Thing program is a great way to inspire people.

“You never know how big an impact you might have,” he said.

Welcome to Fort Mill

Another Fort Mill High School senior Steveen Vargas received two nominations for helping a fellow student feel welcomed.

A native of Ecuador, Vargas had to get acclimated to a new country and knew he should help a student in a similar situation. A freshman student from El Salvador knew little English and was disoriented until Vargas stepped up to make sure her transition went smoothly.

“I wanted to do something that I wished someone would have done for me when I came here,” he said.

This quarter, 30 students were nominated for DTRT awards. The top 10 nominees received gift cards and a reward certificate. Hurst received a Kindle Fire along with the other gifts.

Sponsors include Chick-fil-A, South Carolina Bank and Trust, Anne Springs Close Greenway, The Peach stand and Leroy Springs Recreation Complex.

Other winners

Josh Valez - Springfield Middle School, eighth grade, helped break up a fight at school.

Stephanie Quezada - Fort Mill High School, ninth grade, helped a student who didn’t speak English.

Natalie Gonzalez and Gabi Baum - Fort Mill Middle School, seventh grade, spent personal money to send Valentine’s Day cards and flowers to the students in the special needs classroom on the seventh grade hall.

Vincent Miceli - Fort Mill Middle School, sixth grade, worked on a project to help ease the transition to sixth grade for other students.

Jeremy LaShombe, Nation Ford High School, senior, worked with the HOSA club, a national student organization for future health professionals, at The Haven, a home for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia in Pineville, N.C.

Braylon McGee, Springfield Middle School, eighth grade, turned in $33 he found.

Jocelyn Shade, Springfield Middle School, sixth grade, stood up against bullying in school.

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