Community Corner: Celebrating Chattanooga High School Athletes

Celebrating Chattanooga High School Athletes - Lee Company

Stetson Bennett, featured speaker at “Best of Preps” event

The moment we walked into the ballroom at the Chattanooga Convention Center on June 8, we could feel the energy. The stage was set, the music was pumping, and the student athletes started pouring in. They were joined by their families and friends, all of whom were anticipating the night of awards hosted by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We were there to award a scholarship to one of those student athletes, and after a 2-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the in-person “Best of Preps” event was back better than ever. Our Lee Company team, along with everyone else in attendance, was ready to celebrate the region’s top high school athletes and coaches.

Stetson Bennett, the current Georgia Bulldogs Football Quarterback, whose team brought home the National Championship this year, was the banquet speaker. The Q&A brought produced several laughs from the crowd as Bennett made small jabs at his former town, teams, and himself. He explained how he doesn’t view himself as a celebrity, and was very genuine with his advice for the athletes there. “Make sure you love it, because it’s a grind. If you love it, you’ll look at ways to make it better. If you don’t, it’s just a job.”

The night was full of celebration and the turnout was amazing. The best part? The names of the winners had been kept secret – no one knew who would win until their names were called! In addition to the awards for outstanding achievements within their individual sports, a handful of scholarships were handed out to deserving students who were nominated by their friends, family, and fellow teammates. These students not only excelled on the field, but they also served as role models in their schools and around their communities. We loved supporting the event, our partnership with the Times Free Press, and the student athlete who was the recipient of our scholarship: Brody Grant from Boyd Buchanan School.

There’s nothing more rewarding than making a positive difference in someone’s life, and thanks to this event, the impact will extend beyond the convention center. Giving back to our communities goes to the heart of our mission. We want our team members to thrive, and in turn, our communities to thrive. Thank you to the Times Free Press for hosting this incredible event, and to all the supportive families and coaches who encouraged these students to do what they love. The future is brighter thanks to them.