Loria Banquet highlights academics along with athletics, Hughes exemplifies just that

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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) - A lot of folks will see the Frank Loria Award Banquet as a ceremony recognizing athletics, but it’s about academics just as a much as it is about athletics.

Justin Hughes from Lincoln High School exemplifies what it means to put education first.

Hughes, a linebacker, took home the Columbian Club Award for Academic Excellence during the banquet.

This award highlights a player who has achieved the highest scholastic average and is a member of the First Team All Harrison County. Loria was an Academic All-American at Virginia Tech – meaning he too understood the importance of education.

Hughes is no different.

“My mom always used to say ‘School before everything,’” said Hughes. “Get your homework done before you can go play, anything like that. Make sure you get your homework done and do your best. I work hard, coming home, doing homework after practice and stuff.”

And while Hughes took home the hardware for his academic achievements, the majority of the student-athletes who were recognized at the banquet also excelled in the classroom, and that’s something the superintendent of Harrison County Schools is proud of.

“I was so proud of these young men tonight. If you listen to most of them, Justin (Hughes) was the actual winner, but many of these young men have done well in school,” said Dr. Mark Manchin, Superintendent of Harrison County Schools. “We’re very proud of what we heard tonight with the athletic accomplishments, but of course the academic accomplishments and that's what it's all about."

Gino Messenger out of Robert C. Byrd also won the Frank Loria Memorial Scholarship Foundation Scholarship.