DECATURVILLE, Tenn. — Riverside’s Daryl Mcelrath signed his National Letter of Intent to play basketball next season at Northeast Mississippi Community College with plans of going Division I after two seasons.This past season he did it all for the Panthers, averaging 25 points per game while grabbing 13 boards and dishing out almost four assists.

McKENZIE, Tenn. — April is Child Abuse Awareness and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Every year, Bethel University hosts a candle light vigil as a way to shine a light on those who may have been impacted by abuse and neglect.

“It’s much more prevalent than we think it is,” Rachael Brooks Bethel Director of Prevention Services said.

It is a topic not often talked about, but for Fatelia Avery, child abuse became a terrifying reality.

“When I was 16, I was sexually abused by family member, which was very hard for me to deal with,” Avery said said.

Now a student at Bethel University, Avery founded the Child Abuse Recognition Effort on campus.

She said she hopes to use her experience as a way to help others.

“When I started this on campus, I realized more students have gone through this then I realized,” Avery said.

Avery’s group hosted a survivors celebration and candlelight vigil on campus, remembering abuse victims and lifting up those still fighting.

“We don’t need to just brush it off and have it in the background,” Avery said. “It needs to be brought to everyone’s attention.”

Students and faculty decorated luminaries and placed them all over campus hoping to bring awareness to a topic sometimes hard to talk about.

“I think a lot of times victims don’t know the resources that are available to them, and often times they feel like they don’t have a voice,” Brooks said.

Brooks said abuse as well as sexual assault can happen to anyone, not just children.

“This event is really to just encourage other people and encourage them to reach out to others,” Brooks said.

For survivors like Avery, raising awareness is a cause close to her heart.

“It’s an issue that needs to be rectified,” she said. “We need to do something about this and stand strong.”

Those who attended the candlelight enjoyed live music and heard testimony from survivors.

Organizers said it was not only for survivors of abuse, but to anyone wanting to take a stand against it.

This is the third year for this candlelight ceremony.

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Jackson-Madison County 33rd annual Sports Hall of Fame banquet took place Thursday night, five people were inducted:

Former TCA softball player, Ivy Renfroe. She was a softball pitcher for the Lions and the University of Tennessee. She helped lead TCA to state championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009. Renfroe also played a key role in helping the Lady Vols reach the Women’s College World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Current USJ softball coach, Brian Dunn. He’s been coaching softball for 24-years, including stops at Riverside High, Union University. He also helped lead the Lady Bruins to state championships in 2010 and 2012. Dunn was elected to the Tennessee Softball Coaching Association class of 2014 Hall of Fame.

Libby Cash a former Jackson High football player. He graduated in 1961 and attended the University of Mississippi on a scholarship. After one season he transferred to Delta State University where he was a Division II All-American, Honorable Mention.

Jodie Parrish, a former South Side Lady Hawk basketball member. She graduated in 1970 and was the leading scorer for the Lady Hawks all three years of her high school career. She went on to play at Union University earning the first-ever Most Valuable Women’s basketball player in 1974.

Ryan Scott, a member of the 2003 JCM football team. After graduating, Scott attended the University of Memphis where he lettered four years as a wide receiver. As a Tiger he ranks fourth all-time in receptions with 114 and seventh in receiving yards with 1,527.

HENDERSON, Tenn.–A former Tennessee Volunteer visits Freed-Hardeman University for an annual sports banquet.

Inky Johnson, who played for the Tennessee Vols until an injury left his arm paralyzed, spoke at FHU’s annual Sports Advisory Council Benefit Dinner, Thursday night. WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News spoke with Johnson about his life’s story.

“My story is that of dreams aspirations getting close to making that manifest you know and then having it shattered you know and fighting up hill against the opposition, adversity and the challenges but also embracing it and figuring about how can I ad value to the world,” said Johnson.

The benefit dinner raises money each year for intercollegiate athletic programs at Freed-Hardeman University.

 

JACKSON, Tenn.–Local first responders were honored for their work.

Nearly 70 of Jackson’s police officers and firefighters enjoyed a dinner in their honor at the Old Country Store.
Thursday night was the first dinner of its kind, held by the Salvation Army to thank those who have donated their time to the community.

“Everyone here is from the local Jackson community and the surrounding areas. They’re the ones that make it possible for us as the Salvation Army to do what we do in this community,” said Lt. Cheryl Moynihan of the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army plans to host more dinners like this to thank first responders for their support.

 

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Madison Mustangs come from behind to defeat Haywood County, 5-4.

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Sacred Heart Knights took down USJ, 2-1.

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Jackson Generals beat the Birmingham Barons, 8-3.

JACKSON, Tenn. — Proceeds from a specially-marked pump at the Circle K in north Jackson are going to a local school.

North Side High School was selected for the second year in a row to kick off Circle K’s annual Fuel Our School fundraising campaign.

Students, parents and teachers were all at the event.

Principal Jason Bridgeman talks about how the store is part of the big family at North Side.

“They are part of our community. They are our school community right down the street,” Bridgeman said. “Our students and our parents shop there every day, so they felt like it was just a good choice. We do appreciate it, but we are one big family here over at the north side of Jackson.”

One cent of every gallon is donated to the school. The school can reach up to $2,000 from the campaign.

JACKSON, Tenn. — Athletes from all over West Tennessee came to Jackson Thursday for the Special Olympics track and field events.

“I’m ready to do the march and stuff, and I’m going to do the running and throwing,” Elijah Bailey, an athlete from Lexington High School, said.

Students arrived by the bus load, registered for their events and then warmed up.

They kicked off the events with the lighting of the torch and a parade.

“It keeps them active. It shows them sportsmanship,” Special Olympics Area Director Randi Ezelle said. “Some of these students are very serious about their competition and about their training and stuff.”

Over 300 athletes competed in events including the long jump, 400-meter and softball throw.

Will Norwood goes to Pope School and was excited to watch his classmates compete.

“I think that this day is gonna be really good, and my class members are gonna win, and I think this is really fun,” Norwood said.

Another athlete, Ben, goes to Lexington Middle and competed in the 50-meter dash and softball throw.

“It’s a good day for us to come out here and be a champion,” Ben said.

The athletes also got to compete for some prizes in a carnival in their down time.

The winners of the games on Thursday will qualify for the state games in Nashville.

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