In just three weeks, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will headline The Advocate’s Star of Stars high school sports awards ceremony.
Brees will be the guest speaker for The Advocate's 34th annual event, scheduled for Monday, May 20, at L'Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge Event Center, with the Red Carpet Experience at 5:30 p.m. and the awards ceremony at 7 p.m.
“I owe so much of my success to the love and support of my family and my coaches, so I’m excited to be coming to Baton Rouge in May to celebrate the community’s elite athletes and the people who helped make them great,” Brees said. “Who knows, I may meet someone who will be a teammate someday.”
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Tickets are $55 and are available at TheAdvocate.com/Stars.
Our Lady of the Lake Children's Health is the presenting sponsor, and ExxonMobil is the red carpet sponsor.
Cox, Paretti Jaguar Land Rover Baton Rouge, RKM Primary Care, Acadian Ambulance Service, Walk On’s, Go Auto Insurance, Louisiana Army National Guard and Carco Awards are also sponsors.
"Our Lady of the Lake Children's Health is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Star of Stars awards," Our Lady of the Lake President and CEO K. Scott Wester said. "As we remain focused on improving the health and wellness of children across Louisiana, we admire the talent and dedication of the student athletes that serve as role models for so many."
The Star of Stars awards celebrate the best in high school athletics.
Think your team has the best story? Or did your coach do the best job of any coach in the Baton Rouge area this year? Does your school have a …
The event honors the top athletes in 13 boys sports and 12 girls sports and culminates with the selection of a boys and girls athletes of the year, each selected from a panel of three finalists.
Scotlandville basketball player Javonte Smart, now at LSU, was named the 2017-18 Boys Athlete of the Year, while Central's Raegan Willis, a standout in softball and powerlifting, was honored as the Girls Athlete of the Year.
Previous winners of the top honor included basketball's Seimone Augustus (Capitol); volleyball's Danielle Scott (Woodlawn); PGA golfer Andrew Loupe (Episcopal); and first-round NFL draft picks Michael Clayton (Christian Life) and Marcus Spears (Southern Lab).
Two awards were added last year, with selections honoring a top boys and girls Special Olympian and boys and girls high school teams of the year.
Several awards will be added this year. A Courage Award will be given to a player or coach who has overcome injury, illness or extreme hardship in order to compete. A Spirit Award is designed to honor a parent, booster or organization that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to support a local high school program. Also, Coach of the Year awards will be presented.
Brees is one of the most successful professional athletes representing Louisiana. He also has been overcoming the odds for more than two decades. Brees won a Texas state football championship in high school, but many colleges passed him up because they thought he was too small.
He went to Purdue and led the Boilermakers to the Rose Bowl. However, NFL teams weren't sure Brees was big enough or strong-armed enough for professional football, so they passed on him until the San Diego Chargers picked him in the second round of the 2001 draft.
Brees enjoyed success in San Diego, but the team wasn't confident in him and acquired Philip Rivers in 2004. Brees' time in San Diego ended in 2005, when he tore his labrum. The New Orleans Saints were the only NFL team that believed in him.
Everyone knows the rest of the story: Brees was the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV after leading the Saints to a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in 2010. He also was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year for 2010.
Since then, Brees has carved his name in the NFL record book as the league's all-time leader in career passing yards. When he broke that record this fall, he told his four children how he had overcome all of those challenges: "You can accomplish anything in life if you're willing to work for it."