Canceled Scholarship Banquet does not stop Demons’ thankfulness

NSU tennis player Judit Castillo Gargallo poses with donor Jill Morrison at the 2019 NSU Foundation and Demons Unlimited Foundation Scholarship Banquet. Submitted photo

Normally, select Northwestern State student-athletes would be able to express personally their thanks to those responsible for the athletic department’s 58 permanently endowed athletic scholarships.

Like many events in the spring of 2020, the annual Northwestern State University Foundation and Demons Unlimited Foundation Scholarship Banquet, originally scheduled for April 2, was canceled because of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

What has not stopped is the appreciation Demon and Lady Demon student-athletes have for those who help pave the financial way for them to compete in their chosen sport. Befitting a time where most Americans are working from home and holding virtual meetings, Northwestern State student-athletes took to showcasing their gratitude to donors via video.

“Thank you, Mr. (Glenn) Talbert for the scholarship and for all the donations you’ve made to Northwestern State,” football tight end Aaron Howell said via video. “It makes my dreams come true. I’m from here (in Natchitoches), and I’ve always wanted to play here. To do it for free is a blessing.”

That gratitude extended to Demons who have come from outside of Natchitoches as well.

“I wanted to say thank you again for donating money for people like me to give people like me a chance,” said junior offensive lineman Jakob Sell, the recipient of the John and Angelina Manno Scholarship. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without people like you with such great hearts.”

The annual banquet is a chance for student-athletes to meet with the benefactors of their scholarships and develop a relationship with one another.

As much as the student-athletes gain from the interaction, the donors glean a similar amount of happiness and kinship from the event, developing relationships that transcend generations and cultures.

“I was disappointed the Scholarship Banquet had to be cancelled this year,” said Jill Morrison, namesake of the Jill Cantrell Morrison Scholarship. “It’s a great event. Scholarship benefactors get to meet the recipients of their scholarships and know their money is going to a worthy cause. And the recipients see first-hand the funding for their education comes from a real person and is often very personal to the person making the donation. Everybody feels appreciated and grateful. It’s a little bit of magic

“The best part of my Athletic Scholarship is the connection it created with the recipient, Judit Castillo Gargallo. Like many student athletes at NSU, Judit is driven, smart, and grateful for the opportunity to play her sport while she receives an outstanding education. My scholarship allows me to stay connected to my university, and because it is permanently endowed, it also makes me feel good to know that it will always support future Demons.”

To learn more about Demons Unlimited Foundation scholarships, visit

Below is a list of the NSU Athletic Department’s Scholarships and their 2019-2020 recipients:

Scholarship Name Recipient
Alario 22 Baseball Scholarship Hilton Brown
Jake and Elaine Sherman Baseball Scholarship Lenni Kunert
Julien Vienne Baseball Scholarship Logan Hofmann
Sampite Family Baseball Scholarship Josh Banes
The Pearce Demon Dirtbag Scholarship Tyler Smith
Webb Family Athletic Scholarship Kyle Swanson
Nathan H Ezernack Baseball Scholarship Jonathon Harmon
Robert & Irene Gray Baseball Scholarship Drake Smith
Ann & Jack Brittain Family Endowed Scholarship Levar Gumms
Bryant & Heloise Lewis Scholarship Ja’Quay Pough
Chris Waddell Football Scholarship Landon King
Christopher Truax II Athletic Scholarship Zach Clement
Coach John Ropp Scholarship Darius Whitfield
Dan & Lilly Chase Athletic Scholarship Hayden Bourgeois
Don Purser Memorial Scholarship Bishop Breaux
Donald Horton Scholarship Tanner Ash
Gary Reasons Football Scholarship Kyle Moore
Glenn & James R. Bucky Talbert Scholarship Aaron Howell
Jack & Nellie Clayton Memorial Scholarship Jared West
James Oliphant Athletic Scholarship Kaleb Fletcher
John & Angelina Manno Athletic Scholarship Jacob Sell
John Wayne Odom Football Scholarship Curtis Williams
Kurt Rodriguez Football Scholarship Kenny Sheldon
Pete Ellis Football Scholarship Fred Lee
Richard Ware Football Scholarship David Fitzwater
Walter Ledet Scholarship William Hooper
Coach H. Lee Prather Basketball Scholarship Brian White
Gayle Hatch Scholarship C.J. Jones
John & Corene McConathy Men’s Basketball Scholarship Jairus Roberson
Johnny Ellzey Basketball Scholarship Jovan Zelenbaba
Gerald & Rose Long Athletic Scholarship Robert Chougkaz
O.L & Marie Cole McConathy Nikos Chougkaz
Richard Stagg Track & Field Scholarship Will Malone
Hugh & Henry Bernard Scholarship Trenton Massner
Stewart Brothers Scholarship Bronte Rhoden
Charlie Ragus Athletic Scholarship Nicole Henry
David & Sam Gallien Scholarship Norma Trejo
Long Twins Athletic Scholarship Alexis Weaver
Jerry & Regina Pierce Tennis Scholarship Patrycja Polanska
Jill Cantrell Morrison Scholarship Judit Castillo Gargallo
Lydia Briggs Women’s Tennis Scholarship Dorota Szcygielska
Ed Schroeder Scholarship Yannik Gerland
Marguerite & Billy Hudson Scholarship Annemarie Broussard
Richard Davis Athletic Scholarship Addison McDermott
C.L. Starnes Athletic Scholarship Bryce Potter
Charlie Tolar Athletic Scholarship Hannah Brister
T.R. & Sue Sibley Athletic Scholarship Haley Hoang
Bill Loftin Scholarship Tristen Washington
Harry & Clarice Creech Athletic Scholarship Kira Bonner
Tynes Hildebrand Scholarship Halei Gillis
Kelvin Fee Track Scholarship Brooke Petkovich
Ruth Rosas & Julie Nash Athletic Scholarship Isabella Hudson
Thomas Crump Athletic Scholarship Amber Bruce
Martin Poole Athletic  Scholarship Jasmyn Steels
Dr. Violet Davion Shavers Athletic School for Women Natalee Henry
W.C Haile Scholarship Siera Stone
Doug Ireland Extra Effort Scholarship JaBralen Yarber
Nanette Hawthorne Athletic Scholarship for Women Keely Dubois