“Basketball teams are full of players with athletic ability and talent, but very few teams have players with the ‘heart of a champion’ like Colby had. His unwavering dedication and commitment, his heartfelt love of the game, and his willingness to always go above and beyond what was asked of him both on and off the court will always help us to remember him as a true ‘champion.’”
Those stoic words are inscribed on the plaque that can be found hanging in Cleveland High School, and now a new name has joined the list of previous Heart of a Champion Award winners.
Prior to the Cleveland-Walker Valley basketball games earlier this month, 19-year-old Caleb Hiddleson became the sixth recipient of the award.
“Being awarded the scholarship back at my alma mater was an amazing experience. This was my first time back to see a home game this year and it just felt great to be back where I know I will always belong,” Hiddleson said of his award presentation.
Hiddleson, a freshman business finance major at Lee University, found out over the summer that he had been selected as the award winner.
“It was a true honor and privilege to win the Colby Stansberry Memorial Scholarship. Colby was a light for Christ in all that he did, and to everyone that knew him,” Hiddleson explained.
The award was started in honor of former Blue Raider Colby Stansberry, whose life was tragically cut short during his senior year of high school.
Stansberry’s parents, Michelle and Terry, were in attendance as Hiddleson was presented with the award, as well as a scholarship.
“Colby was the only senior on the 2006-07 Blue Raiders team,” said Stansberry’s mother. “He knew everybody and had friends at Bradley and Walker Valley. He loved Cleveland.”
In order to win the award, the recipient must have demonstrated attributes and qualities similar to those displayed by Stansberry.
“He exhibits a lot of the personality traits and characteristics that Colby had,” Gayle Hiddleson said of her son. “Caleb is a very compassionate young man and was very involved at Cleveland High.”
What made this moment even more special was that Stansberry was someone that Hiddleson had looked up to when he was younger. It was through various basketball skill camps that Hiddleson would get to know Stansberry.
“Caleb always looked up to Colby,” Hiddleson’s mother explained.
It is Hiddleson’s hope to live out his life exemplifying and displaying the same qualities that Stansberry displayed throughout his life.
“Colby was a true servant of Christ, and his love for people was infectious. I pray that I can continue to live my life like Colby did and that one day when I see him at the pearly gates, he will be proud of me.”