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|Stewart accepts award|
At Vidalia High School, Gary Stewart held claim as the most valuable player in Class 3A in 2008-09 as well as MVP when Vidalia defeated Carroll High for the 2010 state championship.
But at Northwestern State, Stewart received what he calls his biggest award yet.
The Southland Conference named Stewart as the male recipient of the Steve McCarty Citizenship Award winner, and Stewart was honored at the Southland Conference Honors Ceremony and Dinner on May 22.
"I feel like it's a real big award," said Stewart, who traveled to Galveston, Texas May 22 to receive his award during the Southland Conference Honors Ceremony and Dinner. "I mean, I feel like it's bigger than any regular award that I've ever won. I was really shocked to receive it."
Along with playing basketball with the NSU Demons, Stewart served the community by assisting in numerous projects. For his efforts, Stewart was recently nominated as a committee chair for the Campus Outreach Committee after only one year of service.
As an active member on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Stewart participated in Samartian's Feet Week, which is an event designed to raise enough money to fund a shoe drive for local children in the community.
He also worked with the Natchitoches Elementary Lab School on a 5K Run/Walk as part of its Spooktacular on Halloween, while participating in a kids' health fest at another Natchitoches elementary school.
Stewart said he's participated in numerous projects, but the main goal is to reach out and get people involved.
"It's mainly for educational purposes," Stewart said. "Basically, we're trying to reach out to kids and let them know that education is what it takes to have a good life."
Stewart is a four-time Dean's List recipient at Northwestern State with a 3.5 GPA in psychology. Stewart's efforts in the classroom allowed him to be named to the second team Southland All-Academic team this past season, and this is all while playing basketball with Demons.
As a sophomore, Stewart averaged 5.1 points per game while averaging 16.5 minutes. Stewart admitted that those aren't the stats that he's used to racking in.
A lot of that is due in part to the five-in, five-out system that Northwestern State runs, but Stewart said, "as long as we win, that's all that matters."
"It's been hard," Stewart said. "Even though I've been there for two years, I feel like my role has changed. It's difficult adjusting to it, but my teammates help me out and we work things out. Knowing where I came from, it's just tough to adjust to."
As a senior for the Vikings in 2009-10, Stewart was not only a prolific scorer but he was the Vikings leading facilitator, as he averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and nine assists per game.
Vidalia defeated Carroll for its first-ever state championship in Class 3A and second boys state title, the first coming in 1979.
Though Stewart hasn't recorded the numbers in college that he had hoped for, his attitude remains positive and selfless. It's that same attitude that led Stewart to winning the citizenship award for doing "what needs to be done."
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