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Story of Evan Anderson's Scholar-Athlete scholarship too good not to tell

SCHOLAR ATHLETES — Each spring, The Oklahoman awards scholarships to some of the best and brightest athletes around the metro area. This spring, one of those scholarships won't be going to the athlete that earned it. He made sure of that.
by Jenni Carlson Published: June 14, 2013

Every spring, I have the privilege of calling eight high school seniors and telling them they're receiving a college scholarship.

It's one of the best parts of my job.

Our scholar-athlete program honors the best of the best from around the area, and the reactions from the scholarship winners are always genuine and heartwarming. Most are surprised. All are thankful and grateful.

But this year, there was a reaction like never before.

Evan Anderson didn't want his scholarship.

Oh, the baseball standout from Dale High School was as thankful and grateful as any winner I've ever talked to. But he wanted someone else to have the money from his scholarship.

We will celebrate our scholar-athletes on Sunday, and you will read about the accomplishments of some amazing young people. But the story of Evan Anderson's scholarship was one that we had to share, too.

On May 22, I started to call the scholarship winners. Anderson was my first one, but instead of reaching him, his dad picked up the phone.

Dan Anderson told me that Evan wasn't home, that he was actually out cleaning up storm damage. Only a few days had passed since tornadoes tore across our area. The need for help was great, and Evan was doing what he could.

His dad said that for all the things Evan had done in high school, he'd never been prouder of his son than he was for him volunteering.

That's saying something because Anderson has done plenty to make his parents proud.

Twice named the Little All-City player of the year, he played on three state championship baseball teams at Dale and earned a scholarship at Mississippi. He was also one of the best small-school basketball players in the metro.

In the classroom, he maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

But his parents have always stressed to him, his sister and his brother that they need to do more. Pitch in when people need help. Give back. Volunteer.

“He knows he's fortunate,” his dad said. “He's been blessed with abilities and a lot of things that other people don't have.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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