Tommie Smith to speak at Rotary South Scholar-Athlete Awards
05/01/2019

Sprinter who made iconic protest will address local high schoolers

Online PR News – 01-May-2019 – – His silent gesture shook the sports world 50 years ago. On his visit to Southwest Florida, he’ll – His silent gesture shook the sports world 50 years ago. On his visit to Southwest Florida, he'll seek to inspire others to do the same. Civil rights pioneer and Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith will be the keynote speaker for the 2019 Rotary of Fort Myers South Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 16. The ceremony and announcement of scholarship recipients will run from 7-9 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Fort Myers on 13051 Bell Tower Drive.

Smith and fellow Olympian John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists on the medal stand after the 200-meter dash at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, as captured by photographer John Dominis in one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. Smith and Carlos were jeered, vilified, ejected from the stadium and banned from international competition, effectively ending their careers as track athletes.

But to many, they became heroes for their protest against inequality, poverty, lynchings and a lack of regard for human rights amid the tumult of 1968. They received honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, where they competed collegiately, and won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN.

"We are honored and privileged to have Dr. Smith speak at our program," said Tracie Bagans, president of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South. "Our goal is to challenge the outstanding high school students who have been selected for this event to excel as scholars, as athletes and as citizens. Dr. Smith embodies those virtues and more."

The 33rd annual event recognizes top athletes from area high schools based on athletic and academic achievement, along with strength of character. Eighteen Lee County-area high schools each nominated one top male and one top female varsity letter winner who demonstrate leadership characteristics, have GPAs of 3.2 or higher, and are involved in school and community activities. A selection committee of Rotary South members interviews nominees and selects the winners.

The 36 nominees are listed below:

Bishop Verot

Matthew Powell

Bishop Verot

Hannah VanDress

Canterbury

Camilo Lilleslatten

Canterbury

Hannah Galbreath

Cape Coral

Steven Rua

Cape Coral

Kelsey Miskimins

Cypress Lake

Janmikell Bastardo

Cypress Lake

Jin YuHan Burgess

Dunbar

Seneca Milledge

Dunbar

Melanie Hardwick

East Lee County

Hunter Hamilton

East Lee County

Josie Altamirano

Estero

Landen Fiore

Estero

Kelli Kragh

Evangelical Christian

Logan Pearlman

Evangelical Christian

Elizabeth Wetmore

Fort Myers High

Milan Tucker

Fort Myers High

Maria Angelino

Gateway Charter

Will Thorp

Gateway Charter

Maylin Pino Romeu

Ida S. Baker

Sam Phillips

Ida S. Baker

Addison Bone

Island Coast

Jordan Dovale

Island Coast

Khiarra Polit

Lehigh Senior

Nicholas Perdue

Lehigh Senior

Ariel Wallace

Mariner

Rashawn Hunter

Mariner

Taylor Yount

North Fort Myers

Adolphus Taylor

North Fort Myers

Emma Johnson

Riverdale

Nelson Smith

Riverdale

Lauren Brashear

South Fort Myers

Nathan Soliman

South Fort Myers

Jaslyn Cintron

Southwest Florida Christian Academy

Noah Sheffield

Southwest Florida Christian Academy

Abigail Thomas

For more information about the event, contact Rob Scharlau at 239-810-2554 or rob.scharlau@busey.com.