December 5, 2020

The Heard Citizen Female Athlete of the Month (January)

aom 4_edited-1Pictured above (L-R): Jonathon Hunt, Nicole Neighbors, Tanisha Johnson, Emma Bradley, and Damon Pearson

(Franklin, GA) -A special tiny Brave athlete was the center of attention last Tuesday night during the varsity basketball games versus Temple High School in Franklin.

Emma Bradley, a 4-year-old Special Olympics athlete from Ephesus, became the first Special Olympics athlete and also the youngest athlete to ever win the Brave Nation Athlete of the Month Award sponsored by

Emma was recognized for her first place finish in the new young athletes division (4-7 years) at the basketball skills competition held at the Heard County Recreation Department on January 15.

A large group of Emma’s family and friends as well as her teacher at Heard Elementary, April Wolfe, were on hand for the special presentation given during halftime of the girl’s game.

Emma received an award certificate, a Braves t-shirt, a ribbon, a Scooby-Doo basketball, and a $50 gift card for Loco Rio.

On hand to present the awards were Brave basketball players Jonathon Hunt, Tanisha Johnson, and Damon Pearson along with local Special Olympics coordinator Ms. Wylene Spearman and Loco Rio representative Ms. Nicole Candace Neighbors.

Emma, who spends much of her time in a wheelchair, insisted on using her walker to make her way across the gym floor to receive her big honor as fans on both sides of the gym cheered “Let’s Go Emma!”.

It was also only fitting that the Temple Tigers themselves ended up playing a big part in Emma’s celebration.

In the absence of the Braves cheerleaders, who were not scheduled to cheer Tuesday night, the visiting cheerleaders stepped up to the plate in a big way. Led by head cheerleader Natasha Price, the Tiger cheer squad started the loud chants for Emma making her exciting moment even more memorable.

This was the third time during the past three years that the Braves and Tigers have come together for some unique fellowship and great sportsmanship.

In October 2010, after the Tigers had lost James “Ray Ray” Walker in a bus accident, the Braves hosted a beautiful pregame tribute to Ray Ray prior to that Friday’s football game featuring both school’s marching bands performing together a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

Yet another special Brave-Tiger moment occurred last fall, once again at Staples Stadium, when Tiger Devin Moore scored a very memorable touchdown which was named play of the week by two Atlanta television stations.

Emma with Local Special Olympics Coordinator Ms. Wylene Spearman

Emma with Local Special Olympics Coordinator Ms. Wylene Spearman

In the cynical modern day sports world, Heard High School and Temple High School continue to be great examples of the positive aspects of athletics.

Fellowship and sportsmanship seem to always be the headlines when these two teams meet. would like to extend special thanks to the Temple High School Cheerleaders, HHS principal Mr. Russell Sowell, Media Coordinator Ms. Penny Hood, Athletic Director Tim Barron, Braves head coach Phillip Manning, and Lady Braves head coach Valeree Williams for helping with Emma’s special night.


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