SEBRING -The Avon Park Red Devils, Lake Placid Green Dragons and Sebring Blue Streaks may not always be the best of buddies on the playing fields, but on Saturday night, students from all three schools were brought together by the second annual All-Highlands Parade of Athletes at the Highlands Today Center.
A crowd of roughly 725 turned out to recognize the achievements of Highlands County teens during the 2012-13 school year.
All athletes who received berths on the Highlands Today All-Highlands teams were invited to attend the banquet for no charge, in which they received dinner and a certificate, while those selected as Athletes of the Year in each sport received a plaque.
Spirit Awards were given to one senior cheerleader from each of the three schools.
And the evening was capped off by the introduction of the Female and Male Athletes of the Year- Sebring's Taylor Tubbs and Lake Placid's Rick Miller. Both received
$500 scholarships from the Sebring Firemen.
The coaches weren't left out, either, as all who attended were entered into a drawing for prizes.
The All-Highlands teams encompass 24 sports for boys and girls, as well as cheerleading, and all of the teams are selected by the coaches. Boys and girls bowling will be added to the All-Highlands list for the 2013-14 high school sports season.
The keynote speaker was Steve Hogan, a graduate of Central Florida University and current CEO of Florida Citrus Sports. Florida Citrus Sports began in 1947 and is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to increasing community spirit and pride, promoting tourism, stimulating economic development and ultimately benefiting charities, educational institutions and the quality of life in Central Florida. It's primary events include the Capital One Bowl, the Champs Sports Bowl and the Russell Athletic Bowl. The company also has in a hand in non-football events, such as Orlando Citrus Parade.
The Sebring Firemen approached Highlands Today about the joint venture after seeing Highlands Today's sister paper, the Tampa Tribune, do something similar for Hillsborough County athletes.
The collaboration between the two has been a success and both were looking forward to working together in the future in order to celebrate the accomplishments of area athletes.