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Tate family reliving MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award 31 years later

Whitehall senior Allison Tate receives statewide award, three decades after father Brad Tate won it.

WHITEHALL – When Brad Tate played basketball for Montague, it was a dream to get his father, then-Wildcats coach Jim Tate, to the state finals.

The Tates did make it to The Palace of Auburn Hills in the spring of 1992, only not with their team. Brad Tate, then a Montague senior, was a Michigan High School Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Award winner and he was among the honorees celebrated on the day of the state finals at The Palace.

Fast forward 31 years: The daughter of Brad and Susan Tate is doing the same thing for her father – taking him to the basketball state finals.

Whitehall senior Allison Tate is one of eight student-athletes statewide from MHSAA Class B member schools to be recognized with the 2023 Scholar-Athlete Award. The Tates will head to Michigan State University’s Breslin Center on Saturday, March 25, for the MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award ceremony at the boys basketball finals.

“I always told my dad I’d get him to the state finals. I didn’t want to do it that way, but it was still awful nice,” recalled Brad Tate, who teaches eighth-grade American History and coaches boys varsity golf in the Montague district.

“It’s just a special moment for all student-athletes for everyone to have that opportunity but to also be able to share it with your parents and your school.”

Brad Tate and daughter Allison Tate pose for a photo during a parents night ceremony. (Courtesy of the Tate family)

Back in his day, Brad Tate’s listed sport for the MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award was boys golf, for which he was a four-year letterman. He also starred in basketball and ran track, in addition to serving as senior class president and fulfilling several other extracurriculars.

Allison Tate has set the bar even higher, elevating her GPA as high as 4.7. She has run four seasons of varsity cross country and competed in two seasons of track and field, in addition to playing junior varsity tennis. Tate has earned all-conference in cross country and all-conference academic accolades in cross country and track. She has served as a captain in both sports. On top of it all, Tate has figure skated competitively throughout high school.

In line to graduate as Whitehall’s 2023 class valedictorian, Tate relaunched the school’s youth cross country camp as part of her National Honor Society legacy project. She has AP Scholar with Honor and National Merit Rural/Small Town recognition. Tate is in her fourth year as class president and she’s also student council president. She has competed for three years on Whitehall’s National History Day and debate squads.

Tate has been named a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar and she’s served as senior class representative of White Lake Interact Club. Her resume also includes serving as co-president of the school’s environmental club, co-captain of the quiz bowl team and school rep on the Muskegon Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council.

Whitehall senior Allison Tate poses for a portrait during halftime of the Whitehall-Montague boys basketball game Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at Montague High School. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

“For school, it’s all those nights I stayed up until 2 a.m., prioritizing my grades and getting straight A’s and getting up to a 4.7 GPA. It’s all of the planning and the work that I did. … All of it’s really rewarding and I’m really glad I got to do it,” said Allison Tate, who has taken seven of Whitehall’s nine AP (Advanced Placement) courses.

In the last two years, the lowest grade Tate’s taken has been 100 percent.

Tate is undecided on where she will attend college, but she knows she wants to pursue international and comparative studies. She’s applied to 14 schools, having been offered a full-ride scholarship from Alabama and accepted by Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan and several other places.

“I would love to work with the United Nations or some sort of partner organization to do humanitarian work,” she said.

Whitehall senior Allison Tate comes down the home stretch during the West Michigan Conference Mega Jamboree for cross country Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Fremont Middle School in Fremont, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

Soon enough, Tate will be in the spotlight on the Breslin Center floor. This is the 34th year of the Scholar-Athlete Award, which gives $2,000 college scholarships to 32 individuals who represent their schools in at least one sport in which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament.

Students applying for the Scholar-Athlete Award must carry at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale and have previously won a letter in a varsity sport. Other requirements were to show active participation in other school and community activities and produce an essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.

“I’m really looking forward to (the ceremony),” Tate said. “It’s a big honor for me because my dad won this award back in 1992 and got to be honored, so my whole family being there and just being in such a cool place like Breslin and getting to watch the basketball finals, it’s going to be a great night and I’m really excited.”

For Brad Tate, it’s way better to be on the parent side rather than the recipient side of the Scholar-Athlete Award.

He beams with pride over his daughter’s achievements.

“For my daughter to receive that award this year, it just makes me so happy – warms my heart, and I just know how hard she’s worked,” he said.

“That’s a lot of late nights, a lot of AP classes and she just loves academia.”

Images courtesy of Brad Tate

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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