Wilson County FCA holds fall banquet

Xavier Smith • Sep 20, 2017 at 8:39 PM

The Wilson County Fellowship of Christian Athletes held its fall banquet Tuesday for Watertown and Lebanon high schools students and featured several guest speakers. 

Wilson County FCA director Tim Bryant highlighted successes of the past school year, which included more than 3,000 students who attended FCA meetings at their respective schools.

Bryant said 82 students recommitted their life to Christ, while 45 students made professions of their faith. 

The Wilson County FCA served more than 600 students daily and provided more than 400 Bibles. About 50 volunteers worked with the organization to help with the group’s second annual golf tournament and summer sports camp. 

Bryant said more than 150 Wilson County students attended FCA leadership and team camps. 

The event featured a question-and-answer segment with former Vanderbilt University basketball great Shan Foster and recent Belmont University graduate Taylor Barnette.

Foster, Vanderbilt’s all-time leading scorer, shared personal tales of his past and his journey to his current position as the director of MEND for the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, which is a prevention initiative dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. 

Barnette shared his story on his journey from the University of Virginia’s basketball program to overcoming his own doubts while finishing his career at Belmont University. 

Longtime Nashville radio personality George Plaster, who currently serves as the associate athletic director for marketing at Belmont, moderated the segment and asked Foster about his 42-point performance on senior night in 2008.

“I wanted this particular game to be my way of saying, ‘Thank you.’ That’s really the only thing. I didn’t care about how many points. I just wanted my performance to say to the Vanderbilt community, ‘Thank you,’” said Foster, a Louisiana native, who said the Nashville community embraced him and helped him after Hurricane Katrina ravaged his home state. 

Foster said he prayed at the beginning of the day for a proper sendoff for the home crowd, which seemed in doubt after a six-point first-half performance, but said it all worked out in the end. 

Plaster asked Barnette to discuss his game-winning three-pointer in the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Finals, which sent the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament. 

“It has way more significance than just the shot going through the net with me,” said Barnette, who said he thought he committed the losing turnover moments before. 

Barnette said words of encouragement from his teammate, senior Reece Chamberlain, and head coach Rick Byrd helped propel him to hit the game-winning shot. 

“Thinking back on it, I was in a time in life – over the next few days and weeks – where I was trying to do everything on my own. I said the right things. I’ve always been a Christian, but I really hadn’t surrendered everything in my life. I still wanted control,” said Barnette, who said his chance to redeem himself after the turnover is similar to God’s grace. “Every time I get asked about that shot, I’m reminded of God’s grace and I get to tell other people about it.”

Walter J. Baird Middle School FCA coach Angie Bruce and Watertown High School FCA coach Matt Bradshaw also discussed the organization’s impact at their schools. Walter J. Baird student Ethan Mallas and Lebanon High School student Alexandria Teamer also shared their thoughts on FCA.

“FCA has impacted my life so much because I am one that believes prayer should be in schools. They should have never taken prayer out of schools. Being a part of FCA allows students to be able to keep prayers in schools, if only for a few minutes,” Teamer said. 

“I’m glad I had some great leaders including Tim Bryant to help me because it was my first year and I was one of the youngest ones there,” said Mallas, who said camp reminded him that every person is alive for a reason.

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