The 2018 Taylor Haugen Trophy winner is Maddie Hiers, a senior at South Walton High School and the first winner from that school. In addition to her incredible volleyball talent (she was the Small School Volleyball Player of the Year chosen by the Northwest Florida Daily News), Maddie has been involved in varsity tennis, travel volleyball, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Leadership, and the Seahawks’ version of a spirit club, the Grill Team. All of these activities have not impacted her GPA –4.106 (weighted), 3.702(unweighted). Maddie will graduate in May as an honors student and with passing scores on many Advanced Placement exams. Maddie is the student everyone at South Walton turns to when something needs to be done. Need to get students organized for an event? Ask Maddie. Need an announcement made on the morning news show? Ask Maddie.
Maddie’s athletic and school activities have not limited her active involvement in church and community service projects. She has volunteered at Special Olympics, Vacation Bible School, Relay for Life, Food for Thought and tutored elementary school students. Last summer, she traveled to Peru with a mission team and Maddie’s life was forever changed. She will tell you “Spending countless hours with the children of Peru made me feel the power of love and God more than I ever have before. These children had nothing yet gave so much. They will forever have a place in my heart.”
Openly expressing her faith is something Maddie and her friends talk about. Her involvement with the burgeoning Fellowship of Christian Athletes at South Walton High School has helped Maddie become comfortable sharing God’s word and not keeping it to herself. The last several years her faith has been tested with both of her parents diagnosed with cancer. Maddie witnessed her mother Beth battle and win her fight over ovarian cancer. Then Maddie’s dad Jerry was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer and Maddie said “I wanted to know how I could use this to glorify God.” Through her journey, she has learned that “being a child of God does not mean He will make your life perfect. It means that through the struggles, His grace and glory will prevail.”
Maddie plans to attend Florida State University and study Marketing and Human Development and Family Science. She would ultimately like a career in the medical field. Maddie has one older sister, Savanah, a student at the University of Alabama and is the daughter of Jerry and Beth Hiers of Santa Rosa Beach, FL.