Tift County High School's boys basketball team and construction and metal shop students were recognized at Monday's regular City Council meeting.
Mayor Jamie Cater and the council presented the 2014 state champion Blue Devils with a proclamation. The council stood at the front of the room to congratulate and shake each player and coach's hand.
"The Tifton City Council does hereby congratulate the Tift County High School boys basketball team, the players and coaches, as well as the boosters, parents and fans, and hereby recognizes them for their outstanding achievement," Cater read from the proclamation as the group stood to the side of the room. "All of Tifton is very proud of you for achieving your goal and bringing the state championship trophy home to our city."
"Thank y'all very much," Cater said, presenting the proclamation to boys head coach Dr. Eric Holland.
The crowd stood and applauded the team.
Holland said they were happy to be there. He commented that Superintendent Patrick Atwater, who was also present at the meeting, has been “super supportive” of them. He said the players have put in a lot of work.
"I've been at this for 14 years and been a part of some really good teams, but in order to win a championship, it takes all of you, all of us — it takes everybody. It's a total team effort," he told the audience.
Holland said what he was most proud of that day was they had three players sign a basketball scholarship.
"That goes to show what hard work will do," he said, introducing all of the players who have already signed or will soon sign.
He said all seven of his seniors are set to graduate and go on to the second part of their lives.
"We tell them all the time basketball is the beginning, it's not the end. It's just something that helps you get where you're trying to go," Holland said, noting he had them sign a 529 college savings plan.
"We really invest in our books and we really invest in our basketball," he said. "At the end of the day, when those kids sign that scholarship, that's their 529."
He said he's happy to see his players sign a basketball scholarship, but he'll be even happier when they graduate. He said a state championship will be forgotten at some point, but a high school diploma is an investment and starts them toward the rest of their lives.
Holland said they had the most dedicated fans all year long, and they're looking forward to a great year in 2014-15. He then thanked Cater and the council.
"We're humbled. We appreciate it," he said.
Also, the high school's construction and metal shop students were recognized. Roy Willis' construction students and John Tucker's metals students worked diligently to complete the assembly of the new playground equipment at Fulwood Park.
"They did just a splendid, splendid job here," Cater said, holding up a picture of the project. "These are our students in our community that do great work like this. We're proud of y'all too." He also commended the students on other projects they have done in the community.
The students who were able to attend the meeting walked to the front of the room to shake each council member's hand as they were congratulated and presented with a certificate of recognition. Willis and Tucker were also presented with certificates. The crowd applauded the group.
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.