Astonishment crept over their faces when the words being used to describe the yet-unnamed Hitchcock Award winner matched their resumes too closely.
LAMP’s Dan Brake, in wide-eyed surprise, started staring at the carpet in front of him. Soon, he was glaring at the table where he sat.
Montgomery Academy’s Krisie Stakely needed a little longer before coming to the same conclusion: “It’s me?”
Stakely and Brake were soon on their feet, accepting a standing ovation and making acceptance speeches after winning the 54th annual Hitchcock Awards on Thursday at Frazer United Methodist Church.
“Shocked was really my first thought,” Brake said.
“I wasn’t really thinking,” Stakely said. “Everything just kind of happened.”
Their speeches were unrehearsed. First, both were sure they wouldn’t win and, therefore, didn’t prepare. Second, in Brake’s case, he didn’t know the winner had to give a speech.
Either way, they went off almost flawlessly. They thanked their parents, church, teachers, classmates and everyone involved with putting them where they are today.
“Not one single thing that I’ve done makes me who I am today,” Stakely said. “Everything together has made me who I am.”
Stakely plans to go to the University of Alabama and study nutrition. Brake, who celebrates his 18th birthday Saturday, will study engineering at Auburn University.
“Before they started announcing the winners, I was humbled to be just mentioned with all of these nominees,” Brake said. “Their accomplishments are amazing. Just to be up there with them was humbling.”
Brake played basketball and baseball at LAMP, is an honor student and is a member of Gateway Baptist Church, where he is a drummer in the praise band.
Stakely, a Wendy’s High School Heisman state finalist, was a cross country and track and field runner at MA and is a member of First Baptist Church. This year, she’s on the school’s soccer team, which hosts a state quarterfinal game Saturday.
“I feel very blessed,” Stakely said. “I just felt my heart pumping really fast, and I don’t remember what I was thinking. I was very happy, and my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest.”