Pisgah basketball standout and Auburn signee Annie Hughes donated $1,000 to the Jackson County Exceptional Children’s Olympics at the annual event on April 30. In March, Hughes was named the 2018-2019 Gatorade Alabama Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.

As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Hughes also had the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. Hughes said she chose Exceptional Olympics because she wanted to donate to a local organization, and it would be a great way to help kids across Jackson County.

“I have helped with Exceptional Olympics for the past few years and knew that it would be a good way to help kids across my county,” said Hughes. “I am just glad to have been able to contribute to an event that brings such joy to so many people.”

Jackson County Schools Superintendent Kevin Dukes had nothing but praise for the Pisgah student athlete.

“Annie is an awesome athlete, but she’s an even better person. She remembered her home county and her fellow students when donating to the charity of her choice,” said Dukes. “The Gatorade Player of Year donation to Jackson County Exceptional Olympics was greatly appreciated.”

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