J-M senior Williams earns scholarship

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Lowellville’s Nate Solak and Jackson-Milton’s Emily Williams were this year’s Byrd Giampetro Scholarship Award winners Sunday at the Curbstone Coaches basketball recognition banquet at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Youngstown.

YOUNGSTOWN — Emily Williams’ face quickly sports a smile when she talks about her cousin Luke Neer.

The two are a year apart, but remain close. You could say best friends.

One of their favorite activities is the Buddy Walk of the Valley, which educates and helps those with Down syndrome in the area.

Williams knows she’s helping Neer and gets shirts which say “Team Luke.”

She said growing up with him she’s learned a lot from him, especially about how great it is to help others.

“It’s the best feeling seeing all the joy it brings to all the kids there,” said the Jackson-Milton senior student-athlete.

Sunday, at Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, she was rewarded for her academic, athletic and out-of-school activities with the Byrd Giampetro Scholarship Award at the Curbstone Coaches basketball recognition banquet.

Lowellville’s Nate Solak was awarded the boys Byrd Giampetro Scholarship Award, with the boys and girls winners each getting $1,000 toward their college educations.

Solak is heading to the University of Toledo to major in pharmacy.

There have been a handful of Lowellville students to win this award, including his older sister, Kaye. She won five years ago.

Nate, who plays baseball, basketball and football for the Rockets, said Kaye’s weighted bronze basketball trophy fell on hard times. His dog broke it, but it was quickly fixed.

He carried a 4.0 GPA and also was part of the school’s bands and other school activities. Nate is part of the youth ministry at Holy Rosary Parish Church and other various out-of-school activities.

“I just want to help as many people as I can and do what I can for the community, just other people in general,” he said.

Williams wants to major in biochemistry at either Mount Union University or The Ohio State University. Eventually, she wants to be a dermatologist.

One thing which may influence her decision is a new sport. She’s played volleyball, basketball and track and field at Jackson-Milton.

Williams has been on the rowing machine in her school’s weight room, and was nominated for the OSU women’s rowing team by one of her former coaches.

She’s has never competed in the sport, but said she is quite intrigued.

She’s going to OSU for an official visit soon, meeting with an academic adviser.

“It’s definitely a unique opportunity,” Williams said. “It’s definitely unique and exhilarating.”

The same could be said of the way Williams and Solak have approached their high school careers.