Athens Intermediate School fifth-grader Emma Tarokh fell in the love with the game of soccer at age four. Today, she is the 2017 Alabama State Games (ASG) Female Athlete of the Year.
Tarokh was selected by the Alabama Sports Festival (ASF) Foundation, the parent organization of the ASG. This award is granted based on evidence of sportsmanship, effort, attitude, overall athletic achievements, motivation and special attributes. She will walk in the Parade of Athletes and anchor the torch relay during the 2018 ASG Opening Ceremony in Huntsville. She will receive a medal recognizing her for this outstanding achievement. Emma will meet the governor at a special proclamation signing ceremony at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, and she is a candidate for National Athlete of the Year.
The ASF Foundation is a nonprofit organization that teaches the importance of academics, athletics, healthy lifestyles and good citizenship. These are values shared by Athens City Schools our community.
Emma and her Huntsville Futbol Club (HFC) teammates won the 2017 soccer state title and went on to win the national title in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are proud to represent Alabama as the national gold medalists for U12 soccer.
Being a student athlete is much more than the hours put into sport. It is more than the evening and weekend practices, training, sweat and injuries overcome. Being a student athlete means getting to represent the community by doing what they love. Every student athlete works hard to accomplish his goals, and that translates to the classroom.
David Ezell is Emma’s teacher at AIS. “Emma is a fantastic student to have in the classroom. It is no surprise to me that she has accomplished this because she is a student that always strives to do her best. Emma is always looking for different ways to contribute to not only to the classroom community, but also the school community as whole. Emma builds great relationships with everyone around her and definitely has a great future ahead of her. I am super glad that she is a Golden Eagle!” said Ezell.
Emma approaches all aspects of life with the same determination as she does soccer. She excels in the classroom, is an honor roll student, a qualifier for the Duke Talent Program and recipient of the Newbery Reading award. She sings in the choir, attends youth activities and is an acolyte at First United Methodist Church.
Student athletes model a unique approach to school – a set of values- that we can all benefit from. To succeed in sports requires humility, trust, teamwork, perseverance and the ability to perform under pressure; all values that translate to success in the classroom and in life.
Emma understands what it means to be a team. Emma puts others before herself, whether it is among family, friends or teammates. On the field, she enjoys playing midfielder because she says it’s her responsibility to assist her teammates and set them up to score. She is the first to congratulate her teammates when they make a great play.
Mia Hamm, two-time USA Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion once said, “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team. I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” These words reflect Emma’s perspective on her accomplishment. It is most graciously and humbly shared with her teammates and coaches.
ACS is proud to celebrate the accomplishment of this young student athlete who sets an example for us all; to always work hard and put forth your best effort with a positive attitude. Like Emma and her teammates, we are stronger together. We look forward to many successes both on and off the field for Emma and all our student athletes.
Emma Tarokh is the daughter of Laura and Josh Tarokh, sister to Layne and granddaughter of Becky and Fred Pepper of Athens.