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2021 Finley Award Winners

HCS- Thursday, March 18, 2021, will mark the 26th Annual Finley Awards. Each year, the Robert O. Finley Committee for Character Education awards its highest honor - The Finley Award - to two graduating seniors and one Hoover City Schools employee.  Additionally, students in grades K-12 earn Finley Character Awards.  This year, nearly 150 Finley Character Award Winners, along with the three Finley Award winners, will be recognized at The Finley Ceremony on March 18th.

Due to COVID-19, this year's ceremony will just feature the middle and high school grade-level winners, along with the top three winners.

"Finley" refers to longtime W.A. Berry High School Coach Bob Finley, a man known for integrity and good character.  He passed away in 1994. 

Read more about this year's winners:

Mr. Millard "Buzz" Williams- Originally from Carbondale, Pa., Williams and his family came down to the south in 1959 due to the plentiful construction opportunities in Mississippi. After graduating high school, Williams enlisted in the United States Navy where he was in weapons support for three different aircraft carriers. He gave six years of service to our country (four years active duty and two reserve). From there, he spent almost 30 years with AT&T, where he started at the top of a telephone pole and worked his way down to a manager position in the marketing department, responsible for communication services for hospitals and hotels in Mississippi. After substitute teaching at Spain Park High School for almost 10 years, Williams decided to go back to school for a third master's degree. In 2016, he graduated from Samford University and started at Spain Park High School. Currently, Williams, known as "Mr. Buzz" around the building, works in credit recovery for 9th through 12th grade. In his personal time, he serves as a chaplain for Helena Boy Scout Troop 2 and also teaches leadership training courses for the Boy Scouts. Williams has been married to his strong supporter, Carol, for 48 years. The two have six children, 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


Mr. Gage Hughes- Son of Jason and Lesley Hughes. Hughes has lived in Hoover his whole life, going to Shades Mountain Elementary, Berry Middle School and now Spain Park High School. He has played football and wrestled all four years, and has a younger brother who is a 10th grader at Spain Park. In addition to athletics, Hughes has participated in Habitat for Humanity, National Honor Society and currently does Latin National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society. He is also on the Hoover City Schools Foundation Student Board and volunteers at Mountain Top Community Church where he serves as a small group leader for the fourth and fifth grade. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend Auburn University and become a veterinarian.


Mr. Colby Carter- Son of Brent and Jill Carter. Carter has lived in Hoover his whole life, going to South Shades Crest Elementary, Brock's Gap Intermediate, Bumpus Middle and Hoover High School. Carter has two older brothers, both of which have been Finley Nominees. One of his brothers, Austin, won the award in 2017. Carter has been part of DECA and served as the junior class president. He is a member of the varsity basketball team and business academy. Outside of school, Carter has been part of the Riverchase United Methodist Church youth group and a member of Pro One Basketball. After graduating, Carter will attend Berry College in Rome, Ga., where he will be playing basketball.