PCA Senior Jenna Stilling Named Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete
“Hard days are the best because that’s when champions are made,” is a well-known quote by Olympian Gabby Douglas. While Prattville Christian Academy’s senior Jenna Stilling may not be an Olympian herself, every one of her classmates can attest to the fact that she works hard; if anyone is a champion, it’s her!
Each year, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame comes together with the Alabama High School Athletic Association to grant a high school senior of excellent athletic and academic standing the Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Award. For the class of 2021, PCA is proud to have nominated Jenna Stilling for the competition! The factors included in the selection were scholastic standing, sports, athletic honors, school leadership, and community involvement, all of which Stilling projects.
Stilling has been a PCA student for fourteen years and is appreciated by her teachers and peers for the dedication she demonstrates in and out of the classroom. She is constantly pursuing her interests, thrilled by “the challenge of learning” and driven by curiosity and the desire to overcome obstacles. Her devotion is also seen outside of academics, where it extends into various club leadership positions, the community, and athletics – particularly on the soccer field.
Stilling’s experience with soccer started with the YMCA team when she was only four years old. Since then, she’s participated in city leagues, both Prattville and Wetumpka United Soccer Club, and high school soccer. Undoubtedly, she loves the sport, but even more than that, she is an incredibly selfless teammate. When asked about her motivation to play, she said, “I’ve been pushing myself for others, whether it be to be an example for the younger players on the team, to help my teammates, or working hard to make sure any trust in me wasn’t misplaced.” She enjoys the challenging practices and games, but she finds that the best part is the strong bond she has created with her teammates, many of whom she has played with for years. “It’s that tight bond that carries you through physical games, rough losses, and well-earned victories,” she explains, “there’s nothing I wouldn’t trade for my team.”
This attitude, combined with her high statistics in the classroom and on the field, has made Stilling a worthy candidate for the Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Award. When prompted about Stilling’s nomination, PCA’s Athletic Director, Tara Osborne, remarks that “as an athlete, Jenna is what I call a ‘silent leader.’ She is going to lead by example…, [and] she is not afraid to do what is right.” Osborne also loves the humility Stilling carries in all aspects of her work, saying, “she is always putting others above herself and is so respectful to everyone she comes in contact with…. She is constantly encouraging her teammates, and she never boasts about her abilities on the field. She lets her playing take care of it all.”
As if right on cue, Stilling recounts that her initial thoughts on being nominated for the award were “a rush of shock, humbleness, and appreciation all at once.” Coach Osborne emphasized how proud she and PCA are to have Jenna Stilling as their nominee to compete for this prestigious scholarship. Stilling, too, is “really honored to have been chosen out of [her] class to represent the school for a chance at the scholarship.”
This fall, Stilling will be attending college at Oklahoma Christian University near Oklahoma City, OK, where she is planning to study Computer Science with an emphasis in video game design and cybersecurity. The faculty, staff, and students at PCA are proud to have fostered Stilling’s growth through the years, and it will be exciting to see what she will accomplish in the future. Keep up the good work, Jenna! We are all rooting for you!
By: Maddie Jeffery ’22