Graduates Share Their Faith in Christ: 2019 College Scholarship Winner & Finalists

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Special Feature


Congratulations to Oak Mountain High School Senior, Payne Watkins, the recipient of the Second Annual Birmingham Christian Family (BCF) scholarship sponsored by Tactical Faith. Watkins’s essay about how his faith impacted him during his high school career was chosen from among more than 60 essays submitted by area high school seniors.

During my 4 years at Oak Mountain High School I have been through many different trials and tribulations. I have seen lives changed both for the good and for the bad. My faith has allowed me to remain committed to Christ and to help others stay on the right path as well.

I was part of the football team for my first two years of high school. During my playing time, I faced some of the hardest times of my life. I was pushed to my limit. My body and mind were broken. I was on the verge of giving in when God led me back to him. He provided new friends for me and helped me develop some long-lasting Godly friendships. Through two major injuries, God helped me to see that my identity was not in football. My identity was in Christ. I had drawn away from Him and started to rely more on myself rather than on Him. My worth as a child of God was far greater than anything I could accomplish on the gridiron.

Many of my friends were also drifting farther from God. Some had reached the point that you couldn’t even tell that they had once been Christians. Through my faith I was able to hold them accountable and prevent them from going down the wrong path. Through this journey, we all grew closer to God. Other friends started down the path of using drugs and drinking alcohol. I was always ridiculed for not doing those things. Through the teachings of my youth pastor, Sunday school teachers, and every other spiritual leaders in my life, I was able to resist those temptations and was able to keep the jokes from getting to me.

High school has not been easy. From the beginning to the end I faced temptations, persecution, and different trials. I have also seen friends give into sin that changed their life for the worst; drawing them away from God. Throughout all of this, God strengthened my faith allowing me to stand firm throughout the difficult times. God would always pick me up when I fell down. He also used me to do the same for many of my friends and helped me point them back to Christ. God has brought me through these high school years and I look forward to seeing how He will use me in college.”

Payne Watkins, Oak Mountain High School Senior

Here are some additional inspiring words of wisdom from the four 2019 Essay Finalists.

Madison Seay, from Hueytown High School, shares, “Throughout my recovery process, I became a different person. My concussion taught me perseverance and strength, and it taught me to always be humble and appreciative. Most importantly my concussion strengthened my faith. Before my concussion, I knew about faith because I had read about it in the Bible and heard about it from my family, but I had never really experienced it. While recovering, the Lord used my newly acquired “disabilities” to show himself to me.”

Elizabeth Ezell, from Hewitt-Trussville High School, says, “Being a peer partner has impacted my Christian faith because it has taught me to love everyone, no matter the circumstances.”

Abigail Vandiver, from Heritage Christian Academy, shares, “All of my friends know that I go to church and love Jesus with all my heart. Sometimes I have been ridiculed for it, but often it is a gateway to conversations with people that I do not usually talk to.

Jacqueline Wilson, from Pell City High School, says, “God has a plan and no matter what my plan may be, his is greater. I continue to praise God for what he has done for my family and me.”

-Do you want to read more? Click to read each finalist’s full essay! Watch for details on the 2020 Scholarship later this year!

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