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OPINION | Carin Schoppmeyer: Burlsworth winner named, SPSFNWA celebrates

Single Parent fund feted by Carin Schoppmeyer | January 8, 2023 at 2:35 p.m.
Steve Colquit (from left); Knox Bennett; Stetson Bennett III; Stetson Bennett IV, 2022 Burlsworth Trophy winner; Denise Bennett; Luke Bennett and Buster Faulker stand for a photo Dec. 5 for the announcement ceremony at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)

Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett IV took home the 13th Burlsworth Trophy, which was presented at a Dec. 5 ceremony at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Established in 2010, the trophy "recognizes the most outstanding NCAA Division I football player who began his career as a walk-on."

There was more good news for Bennett during the reception preceding the ceremony as he got word he had been announced nationally as a Heisman Trophy finalist. Bennett and the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs will play for their second national championship championship versus No. 3 Texas Christian University at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Other finalists for the award were Carlton Martial, linebacker from Troy University, and Aidan O'Connell, quarterback from Purdue University.

Burlsworth Trophy officials say: "Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Razorback team in 1994, worked his way to being a three-year starter and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft, but he was tragically killed in a car accident 11 days later."

Organizers say proceeds from the ceremony help fund the Burlsworth Foundation, whose mission is "to support the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those who have limited opportunities." The nonprofit organization's offerings include Burls Kids, which allows underprivileged children the opportunity to visit a college campus and see their first Arkansas Razorbacks football game; the Burlsworth Character Award, available to every high school football program in the country; and Eyes of a Champion, which provides comprehensive eye exams and glasses to children in need in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma with a goal of being active in all 50 states.

Single Parent Fund

Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas (SPSFNWA) leaders welcomed some 450 supporters Dec. 8 at Heroncrest in Springdale for the group's annual Jingle Mingle. Organizers say the annual event "celebrates the success of recipients and is a night to thank supporters and guests, as well as raise funds to support single mothers and fathers who are attending higher education institutions in pursuit of a better future for themselves and their families."

Katy Smith, SPSFNWA recipient, shared with those gathered her experience with the nonprofit organization and her eagerness to use her bachelor's degree in agricultural communications and leadership in the nonprofit sector within her community. Smith graduated in December.

Jingle Mingle guests enjoyed live jazz by The Cocktail Club and food from The Event Group.

Jingle Mingle sponsors included presenting sponsor Chambers Bank. Other sponsors included Erstine Holding Company Inc., Grand Savings Bank, Lewis Automotive Group, Professional Business Solutions, and Ritter Communications.

For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.

Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]

  photo  Jim and Kathy O’Connell (from left) and Aidan and Jael O’Connell attend the Burlsworth Trophy announcement ceremony Dec. 5 where Aidan was a trophy finalist. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Jim and Kathy O'Connell (from left) and Aidan and Jael attend the Burlsworth Trophy announcement ceremony Dec. 5 where Aidan was a trophy finalist. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Carlton Martial, Burlsworth Trophy finalist, is joined by his parents Elizabeth and Philbert Martial at the announcement ceremony Dec. 5. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Carlton Martial, Burlsworth Trophy finalist, is joined by his parents Elizabeth and Philbert Martial at the announcement ceremony Dec. 5. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Brandon Burlsworth Foundation Board Members Tommy Tice, Rick Barrows, Anita McCabe, Marty and Vickie Burlsworth, Mike McFarland, Nathan Waldrip and Patrick Swope welcome guests to the Burlsworth Trophy ceremony Dec. 5 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Vickie Burlsworth (from left) Stetson Bennett IV, Aidan O'Connell, Carlton Martial and Marty Burlsworth stand for a photo with the Brandon Burlsworth Trophy for which Bennett, O'Connell and Martial were finalists. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Matt Hickson (from left), Leeanna McKinnie, Lori Walker, Ivy Roberts, Ben Bigger, Leah Neal and Colton Brannan represent Chambers Bank at Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA's annual Jingle Mingle on Dec. 8 at Heroncrest in Springdale. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Katy Smith, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas scholarship recipient, and Tyler Clark, executive director, visit at Jingle Mingle. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Katy Smith, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas scholarship recipient, and Tyler Clark, executive director, visit at Jingle Mingle. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Laura Furner and Taj Johnson (from left), Vickie Knight and Cathy and Jim Crouch help support the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas at Jingle Mingle on Dec. 8 at Heroncrest in Springdale. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Jill and Tommy Lewis of Lewis Automotive Group help support SPSF NWA at Jingle Mingle on Dec. 8. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Allie Eaton (from left), Thalia Reyes, Ilian Cruz and Jennifer Grande enjoy Jingle Mingle on Dec. 8. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
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Print Headline: Burlsworth winner announced

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