Fountain Inn, Schools, Simpsonville

All-Star Scholar/Athletes recognized for excellence

The Sentinel recognizes top ranking students who are also varsity athletes.


Josie Hollingsworth – Hillcrest High School

Sports superlative, Josie Hollingsworth, has managed to achieve Summa Cum Laude and the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, all while running track, field and playing volleyball. As a Fountain Inn native and resident, Hollingsworth has grown up around Clemson sports and plans to attend the University in the fall. Her current GPA is 5.155 and favorite school subjects include history and Spanish. With an impressive long list of club memberships, Hollingsworth is in Beta Club, National Honors Society, Students in Action, and Student Ambassadors. Like a true lioness, she brings an extreme amount of dedication to anything she does. And, handles everything with the strength of Wonder Woman.

Josie Hollingsworth

Only through sacrifice and time management has she been able to accomplish so much at such a young age. When asked how she does it, she responds, “Sometimes I had two practices per day, so I had to sacrifice my free time to complete my work. I had to give up countless afternoons and weekends, but the sacrifice was worth it to me because I love to compete and spend time with my teammates,” she says.

While also acting as team captain on the volleyball team, she competes on the high school track and field team, “The Hillcrest girls just won regions this week,” she excitedly admits. All of her coaches have filled her with inspiration, “Big shout out to my volleyball head coach, Lynn Avant, my track distance coach, Alaric Gwynn, and my track and field head coach, Adrique Heyward. Their wisdom, instruction, and passion for their sport motivated me to give my best effort,” she says. An additional feather in her cap – she’s also received the Daughters Of The American Good Citizen Award!

Another passion is her faith. She worships at Presbyterian Fellowship of Fountain Inn and combines her faith with athletic aspirations. In the future, she has plans to become a sports reporter and will major in sports communications (with a minor in Spanish). Her hope is to glorify God in the name of athletics! Competition provides challenges that she embraces, “I not only compete against other teams, but I also compete against myself. I am internally motivated to improve whether in school or in sports.”

In between a summer job at a real estate agency, she will travel to Europe (a graduation present) and hit the beach. Regardless of where life takes her, she will roar into the wild world with fearless determination.

Madison Miro – Woodmont High School

Madison Miro

Valedictorian and team player, Madison Miro, miraculously manages high grades, church involvement and an active soccer schedule. Her current GPA is 5.37 and her favorite subjects include science and chemistry. When she isn’t studying or kicking, she can be found babysitting for neighbors. During breaks, Miro makes magic happen on multiple mission trips each year. No matter what she does, she goes for the goal with the grace of royalty.

Miro was born in Spartanburg, moved to Florida and migrated back to the Upstate in the third grade. One of her favorite activities is just hanging out with friends. Church priorities also take precedence in her life and she regularly participates in worship at Simpsonville UNC. As a result of her faith, she’s developed admirable attributes. So much so, her personality shines like a crown of jewels. Every summer, she goes on two mission trips with a church division called, Salkehatchie. She’s been to Chicago, Philadelphia and D.C. for neighborhood revitalizations. This year, they will visit underprivileged areas in New Orleans.

Aside from playing soccer at Woodmont, she also plays for Furman United Soccer Club. The club team recently made the play offs and went to the State Championship! It was never her intention to achieve such high heights, “My goal was never to be important. I’ve just always had the mind set to try and do the best I can, and that’s just where I ended up,” she explains. On what drives her, she reveals, “I am driven because I am passionate about these things. My faith plays a role in everything I do because it drives me to live a certain way.”

In the fall, she will be attending Johns Hopkins University in Maryland with her eyes set on the medical field. However, first, she plans to enjoy the summer. She’ll travel to Utah with a close friend for fun and visit Fripp Island for a family vacation. Like a selfless queen, she will continue to help others and try her best. In the game of life, she will undoubtedly score the winning point.

Julia McElhinny  – Mauldin High School

Julia McElhinny

Phenomenal philanthropist and valedictorian, Julia McElhinny, navigates a hectic schedule of swimming, academic clubs, a job and school grades like an Olympian champion – even when waters get rough. With a GPA of 5.417 weighted, even sports injuries were no match for her ruthless willpower. She’s involved with the National Honor Society, National Beta Club, Spanish National Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta (Math National Honor Society). With all of her impressive accomplishments, she still somehow manages to paint our beautiful town with good deeds like a surreal saint.

As a first generation South Carolinian, she makes her parents from Pittsburgh proud. When she isn’t swimming or studying, she’s spending time with family in front of the TV or going on walks with them. While her favorite subjects are math and science, she admits they’re all pretty fantastic. However, swimming is her true love, “I absolutely love it. I would not trade the last nine years of my life for anything else.” In fact, she spends 18 hours a week at the school pool! Time management is a must, “To be totally honest, I really don’t know how I manage it. My friends joke that I have nine lives,” she admits.

In her earlier high school years, she represented the Mauldin Mavs at the XC State Championships for cross-country and ran her heart out. Last year, she joined the state swim team and will continue to compete in the South Carolina State Championships after graduation. Due to sports involvement, she suffered a severe injury and an intense recovery, “I knew that swimming was the sport for me and I couldn’t just give up on it. I know that if I can get through something as rough and difficult as injuries, I can push through anything else that may be in my way.”

As if extracurricular activities weren’t enough, she volunteers at a local memory care facility and donates her precious time to other good causes. When she comes up for air, she works as a swim instructor and swim coach.

Although she hasn’t selected a college yet, she has an idea of a general career direction. The plan is to attend graduate school to receive a master’s degree in public health, and specialize in environmental health or epidemiology, “I think it would be very cool to travel the world with traveling doctors for a few years and then work at a research facility like the CDC or NIH,” she says. Despite future aspirations, thoughts of summer do get her excited for family time, “My family will more than likely travel to Pittsburgh to visit family and I will hopefully have time to relax at the beach before I leave for college.” That’s the plan anyway. Regardless, she will squeeze in a lap of fun. And, cut through the waters of success as if she was a great white shark. ♦

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